The holidays are finally here, and like so many of us, you are likely looking forward to spending time with loved ones, taking time off work and enjoying your favorite treats. But with the season comes the risk of injury. So, no matter what your plans are this year, here are tips to stay safe and avoiding the most common holiday-related injuries.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were almost 198,000 toy-related emergency department visits in 2020. Most incidents occurred in children 14 and younger. The CPSC estimates that most injuries were related to using nonmotorized scooters. Toy balls, building sets and toy vehicles were also top causes of injuries. To prevent injuries, follow these safety tips:
- Always supervise your children when they play with toys.
- Ensure that your child only plays with age-appropriate toys (check safety labels to be sure). Consider your child’s size, age, skill level and development when selecting a toy.
- Never give young children toys with cords, strings or straps longer than seven inches—these can present a strangulation hazard.
- Ensure that toys are well-designed and constructed. Check them regularly for damage and choking hazards. If a toy is battery-operated, be sure the battery compartment is properly closed.
- Don’t let kids under age eight blow up balloons, as these can be a choking hazard.
- Never store riding toys (like toy vehicles, scooters, bicycles and tricycles) near a swimming pool, staircase or busy road.
- Be sure your child wears appropriate safety gear, such as a helmet, when using a riding toy.
- Keep small toys and balls out of reach from young children.
- Teach your child to put away their toys when they’re done playing to avoid trips and falls.
Whether you’re frying a turkey, baking cookies or hosting a family meal, it’s important to take fire safety precautions. Cooking fires are the top cause of residential fires, causing nearly 360,000 home fires annually. Here are some ways you can stay safer:
- Turkey fryers can pose a high risk of fires, so only use a fryer outdoors and away from your house.
- If you’re very tired or have consumed a lot of alcohol, don’t use the stovetop, fryer or oven.
- Never leave food unattended when grilling, roasting, boiling or frying. Use a timer so you don’t forget that you have something cooking.
- Keep flammable items like oven mitts, food packaging, towels and wooden utensils away from hot surfaces.
- If you see wisps of smoke when frying, turn off the burner immediately and remove the pan from the burner. Always cook with a lid near your pan, which you can place on the pan if your food catches on fire.
- Test your smoke alarms every month and change the batteries yearly.
- Also, learn how to treat a cut at home.
While it’s fun to deck the halls, decorating can pose some safety hazards. Here are some ways to reduce your risk of common decorating-related injuries:
- Never leave candles unattended, and keep them away from flammable items, like your Christmas tree, wrapping paper and curtains. Extinguish a candle if you plan to leave it unattended.
- Keep your Christmas tree well-watered and away from the fireplace, candles and other heat sources. If you opt for an artificial tree, choose one that’s labeled “fire-resistant.” Never use electrical lights on a metallic tree.
- Only purchase holiday lights that are safety-tested by a recognized lab like ETL or UL.
- Check your lights for damage like frayed wires or broken bulbs or sockets. Discard damaged lights.
- If you have pets or young children, use shatterproof ornaments to prevent injuries.
- When using a ladder, ensure it is sturdy, the right height for the job and placed on a level, firm surface.
- When lifting heavy items, lift with your legs, not your back. If an item is very heavy, ask for help from a relative, roommate or neighbor.
With just a few safety precautions, the holidays can be a safe, enjoyable celebration for everyone! If you need care this holiday season, Pardee Urgent Care and Pardee’s Emergency Department are here to help. To learn more, visit pardeehospital.org.