A few common-sense precautions can help keep your holidays safe and happy.
Decorating and Lighting
- Candles, colored lights, Christmas trees, artificial snow, and plants add a lot of beauty to festive occasions. Unfortunately, young children (pets, too!) often like to play with these. Kids may even try to taste these lovely decorations, or experiment with that candle flame. Make sure decorations are kid-safe or out of reach.
- Candles are also popular, but don't let yours go up in smoke! Have you ever let one get too close to some greenery, paper, or a tablecloth? You know what can happen. Keep an eye on those candles. Never leave them burning unattended, and never place them too close to other objects. Keep those lighters and matches out of children's reach, too.
- Inspect new and used strings of lights, replacing damaged items before plugging them in.
- Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets - Do not link more than 3 light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.
- When possible use flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
- Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving the home or going to bed. I, personally have a fear of leaving lighted candles on when leaving the house. I always try to double-check to be sure that they are extinguished.
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. When cooking for holiday guests and family, remember to keep your mind on "what's cooking."
- The holidays often mean preparing large meals for family and friends. Wash hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers (less than two inches deep) within 2 hours after cooking. Date the leftovers for future use.
- You should always be aware of food safety precautions and follow them no matter what time of year.
Alcohol, Parties and Driving
- Being a smart party host or guest should include being sensible about alcoholic drinks. More than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Use designated drivers, people who do not drink, to drive other guests home after a holiday party.
Don't let accidents spoil your holidays. Plan now to play it safe this year and every year.