The holiday season might not be the most hazardous time of the year, but there is an uptick in safety concerns during this season of festivity and fun.
Components of the holiday season such as decorating, shopping, celebrating, and traveling, carry some risk. The National Fire Protection Association says 30 percent of all home fires occur during the months of December, January and February. Christmas trees and decorative holiday lighting displays contribute to the uptick in fires and other accidents between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. But fire is not the only concern during the holiday season. Revelers who celebrate a bit too much can pose a threat, as can road weary travelers or overnight guests who unknowingly put loved ones in harm’s way during their stays.
Thankfully, many accidents that occur during the holiday season are avoidable if holiday celebrants focus on safe ways to celebrate.
- Choking: All of that entertaining and partying means more food is consumed. To keep up with the hustle and bustle of the season, many people must eat on the go. The National Safety Council says nearly 3,000 people in the United States die each year from choking. Taking small bites and chewing completely, while also avoiding talking while chewing, can help. Children should be kept away from small decorations, as even pine needles can be a choking hazard.
- Toxic plants: Some plants, including mistletoe and holly, can be toxic to pets and young children whose smaller bodies may be more vulnerable than adults’. When decorating, consider decorating with artificial plants instead of live, potentially poisonous plants.
- Alcohol-related incidents: Holiday fun frequently involves alcoholic beverages. Law enforcement officials point out that the rate of driving while intoxicated tends to increase during the holidays. Implementing strict “designated driver” rules and making contact information for taxi or ridesharing services readily available to holiday guests can prevent tragedies.
- Medicine mishaps: Relatives visiting for Christmas may bring their prescription medications along when staying overnight. Curious children may encounter the drugs and think they’re candy, so encourage guests to place their medications in childproof bottles or containers.
Staying safe during the holidays involves diligence and keeping an eye out for potential dangers.