It should be a time of good cheer and family togetherness, but the holidays also herald a time of mishaps and potential hazards. According to the World Health Organization, 410,000 burn injuries occurred in the U.S. within the space of one year. And 40,000 of those cases required hospitalization.
But burns are not the only cause of accidents. Yearly, 13,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for accidents related to holiday decorations.
Thankfully, staying safe only requires a good dose of common sense and a little extra carefulness around certain areas. Here are some ways to keep your family safe during the holidays and avoid holiday related hazards.
1. Christmas decorations.
Christmas decorations are lovely to look at and are a huge part of creating a holiday atmosphere in and around your house. Just be sure that someone is holding that ladder for you when you are trying to put up a decoration in a hard to reach place. Other safety tips include...
· Make sure Christmas lights do not have any faulty bulbs or frayed wiring.
· Keep candle decorations to a minimum to avoid the possibility of accidental fires.
· If you must string lights up on the roof of your house, make sure you have sufficient help.
2. Space heaters.
If your house does not have central heating and you use a space heater for heating purposes, keep the heater on a solid surface. Avoid placing the heater on carpet and keep it far away from fabrics and combustible items. Make sure to turn the heater off at night and keep an eye on the heater cord. A frayed cord could cause a spark and set off a fire, which has happened in two households already this year.
Depending on the type of space heater you use, you may also want to consider purchasing a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is toxic to inhale. Without proper ventilation and a means of detecting it, your family could be at risk. Make sure to use your heater according to its safety instructions and clean out its filters as often as directed. Regularly open windows to let out stagnant air and other possibly toxic fumes.
3. First aid kits.
Do you know what to do in case of a burn? Or a cut? Immediate treatment can prevent minor injuries from getting infected and requiring emergency room care. First aid kits are available from many online sources and will prove invaluable to the safety of you and your family. If you are not sure what to stock, some providers sell ready-made fully stocked kits which take the guesswork out of your hands. Having a first aid kit in your house is a must for families with young children.
4. Emergency contact numbers.
Do your kids know who to call in case of an emergency? If a parent is injured, for instance, or if they are home alone, and something happens? Create a list of numbers and input them into your child's smartphone. As well as next to your house phone, as you want this available for visiting relatives, baby sitters, and any first responders.
Here's a list that covers all the bases:
- · 911 (ER)
- · 1-800-222-1222 poison control center
- · local fire department number
- · local police department number
- · parents work place number / cell phone
- · trusted neighbor
- · relatives to be contacted in case of emergency
Because winter brings out items that are used infrequently, we are often not as used to being safety minded regarding them. But staying safe during the winter season does not need to be a complicated affair. Use this article as a springboard and go through your house and do a safety tune-up. Share these safety points with other members of your family so that you can all be aware and keep an eye out for potential hazards together.