Parents and children alike (including myself) seem to subconsciously think about the holiday season all year.
Happy memories dart through our minds based on holidays of the past, creating emotions longing for happy, memorable holidays of the future.
Positive holiday experiences are memorable, fulfilling and enjoyable, though holidays of the past which were marred with unexpected sickness and injury are normally the ones we want to forget.
Between tree decorating, new toys for your tots and food safety, the list of do’s and don’ts during the holidays can go on and on.
In keeping the upcoming holiday free of potential illness and injury, make note of the following safety tips so as not to create an atmosphere blemished with unenjoyable memories and nightmares of Christmas past.
* Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, fruits/vegetables and grains.
* After meat preparation, wipe counters with bleach.
* Use a meat thermometer to reach recommended cooking temperature. Do not leave cooked meat out for more than two hours.
* Most holiday leftovers can be refrigerated for three to four days.
* Wash hands frequently in between cooking courses.
* Make sure baby bottles, brushes, cups, plates and/or utensils used to prepare foods do not encounter meat juices; young children are susceptible to salmonella.
* Keep hot food and drinks far away from youngsters' hands. Do not eat or drink hot liquids while holding a child.
* It is safest to purchase a turkey already fried versus frying at home. In 2017, fires and injuries from turkey fryers caused an estimated $15 million in property damage, according to insurancemarketsource.com. Check out safety guidelines from the US Fire Administration:
* Keep all alcoholic beverages out of the reach of children. Alcoholic beverages and children do not mix. I have personally taken care of severely hypoglycemic, comatose children due to their drinking alcohol left out during holiday parties. As a reminder, it takes a much lower dose of alcohol to cause complications for children and are more likely to develop dangerously low blood sugar from alcohol consumption.
With Christmas trees, candles, lights and other decorations in abundance, the holiday season is a beautiful time of year.
Unfortunately, those beautiful decorations can sometimes cause dangerous accidents.
Remember these tips as you decorate for the holidays:
* Keep poisonous plants out of the reach of children, including mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis.
* Artificial Christmas trees should always be labeled as “fire resistant.”
* Live trees should be cut at least 2 inches from the trunk. Fresh wood should be exposed and in a Christmas tree stand, watering frequently.
* Keep all decorations at least 3 feet away from any type of flame or heat source.
* Keep breakable ornaments and decorations out of the reach of children.
* Use indoor lights only, for the inside, and outdoor lights only, outdoors.
* Check for and discard lights with frayed wires.
* Keep outdoor wires and lights away from water puddles.
* Be careful when hanging decorations; use a safe ladder or stepstool.
* Don’t drive nails into electrical wires or overly stress when hanging lights and other decorations.
* Turn off all electrical decorations and blow out candles before leaving the house or going to bed.
* Be careful to place candles away from the reach of children and far from anything flammable.
* Keep matches put away.
* Clean the chimney and fireplace once a year.
* Always keep a screen in front of the fireplace when burning.
* Do not burn paper, trees or wreaths in the fireplace.
* Flameless candles are safer than candles with flames.
As you shop for the perfect gift this season, keep toy safety in mind and always choose age appropriate gifts.
* Avoid toys with small parts that could be a choking hazard for children under 3 years.
* Remember that button batteries or magnets are especially dangerous if swallowed.
* If you gift a riding toy such as a scooter, skateboard or bicycle, remember to also give appropriate safety gear (especially helmets).
* Play video games with your child to make sure content is appropriate.
* For important updates about toy recalls, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Holiday Travel Tips
The holiday season is a prime time for travel.
As you make plans, whether it be near or far, take time to plan for safe travels.
* Keep an emergency preparedness kit with you.
* If you are driving north, winterize your car; also check the weather and look for road closures/safely hazards.
* Be sure everyone in the car is buckled into the correct safety seat for their appropriate age.
* Leave early; give extra time for heavy traffic or unexpected road conditions.
* Practice defensive driving and always keep eyes on the road; put away the cell phone.
* Remember to pack medications.
* Designate an adult to keep eyes on the little ones. Additionally, young children are very fast and often difficult to see in the driveway as cars pull in and out.
* Pools and hot tubs remain a drowning risk even in the winter.
Wintertime Health Tips
The holiday season is a welcome break that comes at a busy time of year… and in the middle of cold and flu season.
Plan to avoid winter-time illness during the holidays.
* Eat nutritious, healthy meals; remember that fruits and veggies support the immune system.
* Make time to exercise.
* Get enough sleep.
* Wash hands frequently.
* If you are sick, stay home
For more Holiday Tips, check out the National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/winter/holiday
We hope your special family time is unmarred with sickness and injury this year so the memories made stay with you and your family as unforgettable recollections of Christmas past for years to come.