Have Yourself A Safe Little Holiday

The upcoming holidays are a wonderful time of year to spend with family and dear friends, and to reflect on life’s blessings. With everyone making their lists and checking them twice, sometimes holiday safety fails to make the cut. We urge you to follow these safety tips so that the holidays you share this year create lasting good memories for years to come.

Holiday Decorating

Holiday Decorating is fraught with all sorts of potential hazards.

  • When decorating, avoid lighted candles, which can ignite trees, boughs, and even gift-wrapped presents.
  • For natural trees, make sure there is an adequate water source to maintain the moisture content. Dry, brittle trees are highly combustible, even with low wattage light bulbs!
  • Make sure your tree is properly anchored and away from door entrances and heat sources like the fireplace or heat vent.
  • If you must use breakable ornaments, place them high enough on the tree out of reach of children and pets.
  • Holiday plants may be poisonous to children and pets, like mistletoe, holly berries, cherry and amaryllis. Keep them out of reach, or decorate with silk plants instead.
  • Use no more than three light sets on a single extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.
  • Make sure all decorative lights go off at bedtime.
  • If you use a ladder when placing your decorations, always face the ladder and grip the rungs to climb, not the side rails. With any ladder use the 3 point rule: always keep three points of contact on the ladder whether two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

Holiday cooking

Who doesn’t love all the special holiday goodies we only get to enjoy once a year?

  • Remember to wash hands, utensils, the sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.
  • Avoid cleaning kitchen surfaces with wet dishcloths or sponges that easily harbor bacteria and promote bacteria growth. Use clean paper towels instead.
  • Never eat raw cookie dough. Raw eggs contained in the cookie dough can be a source of salmonella contamination.

Holiday driving and shopping

Local police departments understand the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and so should you. We all know how hectic traffic and parking can be, so just keep calm and pace yourself. Most importantly, take the time to appreciate your surroundings!

  • If you have to shop alone or at night, park in a well-lighted area. Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows where someone may be lying in wait to steal your packages.
  • Make sure that your car is locked and that you leave your valuables in the truck or out of sight.
  • Have your keys ready as you approach your car.
  • Report suspicious people to store security and ask the store for a security escort to your car.
  • While shopping, avoid wearing expensive jewelry for which you can attract the wrong kind of attention.
  • Pay for purchases with a debit or credit card rather than carry a large amount of cash. These small items can be carried in your front pocket and you can leave a purse or wallet at home.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

Toy Safety

Although toys are meant to be fun, some pose hazards to small children and animals.

  • Follow the suggested age-appropriateness recommended by toy manufacturers. Some toys contain small parts that can pose a choking hazard for young children and animals. If you have older children, keep their toys out of reach of younger ones.
  • Toy packaging with all its plastic ties and fasteners can create choking and suffocation hazards all on their own. Keep a trash bag readily available when opening gifts so packaging and gift-wrap can be disposed of immediately.

Small children

Take extra time to consider that needs of small children to ensure their holiday memories are happy ones.

  • Inspect your host’s home for hazards listed above. Your home may be childproof but your host’s home may not be.
  • Help your host clean up immediately after a holiday party as a toddler could rise early and ingest spoiled food, alcohol or tobacco. The National Poison Help Line is 1-800-222-1222.
  • The stress of holiday traveling, visiting with family members and being in an unfamiliar environment may be even more stressful to a young child.  Try to maintain your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and nap times to ensure a fun time for all.

Strangers at Your Door

Be wary of people who come knocking on your door during the holidays. Some criminals pose as couriers delivering gifts while others solicit donations door-to-door for “charitable causes” that do not exist.

  • Keep your door closed and ask for identification. Delivery people usually have special vehicles and wear work uniforms identifying for whom they work.
  • If a solicitor comes knocking, ask them to leave information at the door, then research the charity and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.

Holiday Traveling

Holiday traveling can be the most grueling and exhausting part of the season. Remember to take your time, drive patiently and without distractions.

  • If traveling by car, make sure your car is “winterized” and that you have emergency provisions such as a flashlight, blankets, water and snacks in case you get stranded.
  • Make sure that your family knows when to expect you and knows the route that you are taking.
  • Get a battery powered phone charger for your phone.
  • Require everyone in your vehicle to wear a seat belt at all times. Even if you are buckled up, someone else who is not could become a dangerous flying object during an accident and injure others in the car.
  • Avoid talking on the phone and concentrate on the road.
  • Never text while driving.
  • Holiday celebrating frequently involves alcohol. Have a designated driver if you plan to imbibe.
  • If flying, follow guidelines provided by the airport and your chosen airline as to packing guidelines and restrictions, and how much time before your flight you should arrive at the airport.

The Becker Law Office extends our warmest wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!