As the holiday season approaches, there’s much to be excited about. From setting up the holiday décor to planning the perfect party, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. However, to keep things holly and jolly, it’s better to be prepared for anything that can go wrong.
During the holidays, there are some potentially hazardous situations that can arise. With proper preparation, you can successfully avoid anything that would potentially ruin this happy time of year. Keep these holiday hazards in mind as you get ready for the season.
1. Hanging Lights & Décor
You know the holidays are fast approaching when you see neighbors start to hang their lights and décor. Both inside and outside, it’s a beautiful sight. However, if you’re hanging holiday décor in higher places, you might be at risk of a fall. According to the CDC, one out of five falls can cause a serious injury, like a broken bone, specifically for older adults.
Avoid unnecessary falls by using proper ladder safety. Always have three points of contact with the ladder and make sure they are placed on a level surface, especially outdoors. If you’re hanging lights on your roof, you may want to ask a family member to assist you. Never use the top rung of the ladder to stand on. If you can’t reach, it’s likely you need a longer ladder.
2. Holiday Candles
While the scents of the holidays are always wonderful to incorporate into the home, candles can pose a fire risk. For gatherings and décor, homeowners tend to incorporate more candles into their space. However, depending on how they are displayed, this can be a fire risk.
Always place candles away from flammable materials such as paper, plants and plastics. Use only fire-safe containers. Never place candles on or near Christmas trees. It’s also a good time to check your smoke detectors and replace the battery if needed.
3. Christmas Trees & Decorative Holiday Plants
Christmas trees and holiday plants are a welcomed addition to any home! You may not think of it, but there are many Christmas tree hazards. Live Christmas trees are quite a treat, but they are highly flammable. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are approximately 210 fires started due to Christmas trees per year.
Even if you opt for a fake tree, if you use live decorative holiday plants, you could be putting your pets and children at risk. Did you know mistletoe and holly berries are poisonous if ingested? Live plants and trees can also trigger allergy symptoms for some family members.
First, avoid live Christmas trees if you have any family members who suffer from allergies. They’ll certainly thank you! If you intend on using them, move all plants with berries off the floor and onto a high shelf, where they can’t be reached. This will keep curious children and pets safe!
Practice proper fire safety around live Christmas trees. Water regularly, as a dried-out tree is more likely to catch fire. Keep it away from heat sources, fireplaces and candles. Never use broken lights on the Christmas tree.
4. Holiday Dinners
Between Christmas cookies and holiday jams, your kitchen is likely going to be a place you’ll frequent this season. If you’re anything like me, it’s an exciting time to try out new recipes and enjoy cooking with family. But, between hot pans and flames, there are plenty of hazards to be found in the kitchen this time of year.
As we’ve mentioned, fire safety is a big concern. Remind yourself of fire safety basics before you begin cooking. Remember to never pour water on a grease fire, but rather cover it or pour baking soda over it. If you’re oven or microwave catches fire, do not open it. Rather, turn off the appliance and let the fire burn out on its own. If the fire continues, call 911 immediately.
Burns are also a concern, especially with many cooks in the kitchen! Always turn pot and pan handles inward to eliminate hot spills. Use oven mitts always. If you do happen to get a burn, run the area under cool water and use burn treatment cream to calm symptoms.
5. Holiday Travel
There are many home hazards that can occur when you’re preparing for the holidays, but have you thought about when you leave? Burglaries tend to rise during the holiday season as people travel to visit loved ones. Make sure you’re not one of them!
While I don’t suggest you set up traps like Kevin McAlister did in Home Alone, a home security system is recommended. They can give you peace of mind during this season while you’re traveling. The average cost to install an alarm system is $650, with most homeowners spending between $441 and $765.
Automatic lights and indoor lamps on a timer can help deter burglaries as well. Also, ask a friend or neighbor to check in on your home while you’re away. They can pick up your mail and check in to make sure all is well at home.
By understanding and minimizing common holiday hazards, you can ensure that you and yours truly enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Take some extra time this year to review common hazards and prepare to handle any accidents that may happen.