Plan ahead to avoid accidents.
The Holidays are a special time for friends and family to gather. However, they are also an excellent time for accidents in the home. Taking family members to the ER has become something of a tradition in my home.
Take precautions and keep the opportunities for accidents to a minimum. Be vigilant and anticipate trouble – a chair is not a ladder and flameless candles are very attractive. Here are more tips ~
The Kitchen and the Dining Table
- Use a timer when cooking, fires can start from burning foods.
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep oven mitts, towels and aprons away from heat sources.
- Consider making a 3 ft. kid and pet free zone to prevent accidental burns.
- Keep sharp knives out of reach of young cooks.
- If you have young children visiting, consider using placemats in lieu of tablecloths that might get yanked, breaking china or tipping over lit candles.
- Provide a highchair for young visitors, and make sure that it is properly secure.
- Ask guests ahead of time about serious food allergies and create a menu that avoids them.
The Tree and Plants
- Keep the tree away from the fireplace and candles.
- Check for brown needles, a dry tree can be a fire hazard.
- Check for spiders and other pests before bringing the tree indoors.
- Secure the tree to prevent it from tipping over.
- Make sure the tree is fire resistant and lead-free. This article shows you what to look for.
- If an artificial tree comes with lights installed, look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval to indicate that the proper wiring was used.
- Red Holly berries can be poisonous and tempting to young children. Keep them out of reach.
- Some Mistletoe berries can cause stomach upset and nausea – keep it hanging up high inspiring kisses, and pick up any fallen berries.
- Keep glass balls and other breakable ornaments on higher branches, away from a child’s reach.
- Before using, check lights for frayed cord and damaged sockets.
- Indoor lights stay indoors.
- Use a step ladder, not a chair, to get to the high spots.
- One and Done extension cords – don’t plug two extension cords together.
- Keep the tree skirt close to the tree to avoid tripping opportunities or skip it altogether.
- Make sure that furniture is well spaced out to reduce tripping accidents.
Wrapping Paper and Packages
- Pick up clutter – wrapping paper can hide tripping hazards.
- Packaging ‘popcorn’ and plastic can be choking hazards.
- Don’t put wrapping paper in the fireplace, sudden fire flashes can be dangerous.
- Small toys and lithium batteries can be choking hazards, make sure they are out of small children’s reach.
- Use the right tool for the job when opening presents, and putting together new gifts.
- Small rugs can cause tripping, best to avoid altogether, but if you must, use grip tape.
- Add slip-resistant treads or decals to the tub and shower floors for overnight guests.
- Provide plenty of lighting. Night lights are helpful. This dawn to dusk night light has two charging ports.
- Check to make sure you have anti-scald fixtures on the faucet, water should be no hotter than 120°.
- Keep doors closed to keep children out.
- Ask visiting adults to make sure that medications are out of reach of exploring children – locked in a suitcase or on a top shelf.
- Add handrails in halls or grab bars in the bathroom to help older visitors.
- Small children may wander at night. If you have stairs, add a gate at the top or arrange furniture to block access.
- Check that smoke alarms are working and fire extinguishers are fresh.
- Stock a complete first aid kit and make it easily accessible.
- Provide a few flashlights with fresh batteries available.
- Keep front walks and entries clear of tripping hazards and ice.
- Make sure that your house numbers can be seen easily from the street in case the Fire Department needs to find you (as if the billowing smoke isn’t enough).
- If you have visiting children staying with you, get a referral for a trusted local pediatrician in advance before it is midnight and someone has a fever.
Making your home safe for visitors isn’t difficult. It just takes a little planning ahead and paying attention to the possible trouble spots.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season.