The holiday season is almost upon us! Soon the smell of pine, peppermint and roasting turkeys will fill the air. Friends and family will gather to decorate and sit down to delicious feasts after long afternoons of shopping. With so much hustle and bustle going on, it’s easy to overlook simple safety precautions to ensure your holiday will be a happy one.
Decorating the house for the holidays is one of my favorite traditions. The day after Thanksgiving, we go to our favorite tree farm, pick out the perfect pine and proceed to spend hours stringing lights, garland and what seems like 50,000 ornaments. Then we hang the lights on the house, and display the stockings and knickknacks on the fireplace. Throughout the entire whirlwind, we always keep safety in the back of our minds.
- Don’t dry out your tree. When purchasing a live tree, cut a few inches off the trunk to allow for better water absorption. Check the water levels daily to prevent your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. This will also keep your tree greener for longer!
- Don’t overload electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets are a very common cause of house fires during the holiday season. And only plug one high-wattage appliance into an outlet at a time.
- Check electrical decorations before using. Inspecting your decorations for any damage, cracks or loose wires can help prevent a serious shock or fire.
- Keep plants away from children and pets. Poinsettia and other holiday plants like holly can be poisonous, so keep them out of reach of pets and young children.
One of the things I look forward to most during the holidays is spending time with friends and family, especially for dinner. We roast turkey, whip up some mashed potatoes and broccoli casserole and enjoy a variety of pies. After dinner, we reminisce about past holidays and tell fun stories. Whether we are hosting or visiting, we always take some precautions before celebrating.
- Arrange to have someone watch your house. If you will be traveling for the holidays, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house. Have them collect your mail and newspapers, occasionally park in your driveway and shovel your sidewalk and driveway.
- Use timers. If you will be away for an extended time, or just out for the evening, use timers for your lights and television. Set them to turn the lights and tv on and off at logical times to discourage burglars.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Never leave a heated oven or stove top unattended, especially if you have young children. Keeping an eye on the cooking will prevent burns on curious little fingers and fires from burning food.
- Use ice melting salt. If you live in an area where frost and snow are common during the holidays, sprinkling ice melting salt on your walkways and driveways will help prevent serious injuries due to falls.
The holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year. I always say I’m going to start early and get it all done before Thanksgiving, but then life happens and I find myself fighting the crowds in mid-December trying to find that last perfect gift. The holidays are also prime time for thieves, so always be aware of your surroundings and keep your car doors locked.
- Park in a well-lit area. When shopping at night, parking near a lamppost will deter thieves and make you easily seen when returning to your car in the dark.
- Hide purchases in the trunk of your car. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving shopping bags, boxes and gift in the back seat. Lock them in the trunk before leaving your car.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. When shopping for the holidays, try making multiple trips with smaller amounts of cash. If you do need to do one big shopping trip, try paying with a debit or credit card or writing a check.
- Have a plan if you are separated from your children. If you are shopping with young children, make sure they know their own name and your name (not just Mom or Dad). Teach them to find a sales associate or a security guard should they get lost to ask for help.
Make safety a priority this year, especially looking for hazards in your home and making your shopping trips safe. Taking the extra time to follow these tips will ensure a happy holiday season!
Take a look at The FSP Community’s infographic on Toy Safety:
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Written By: Sarah Way