Tips to Prevent Christmas Injuries
Christmas has become a global festival and itís celebrated across the world by almost everyone, whether a religious church-going Christian or not! You just cannot have a Christmas celebration without family and friends though. Unfortunately, the seasonal merry making can end disastrously if you arenít watchful enough. Family get-togethers invariably mean that there are plenty of kids running around the place and it would appear that Christmas injuries are always lurking just around the corner. A barbecue in the backyard could soon turn into a full-blown fire and putting up those lights could even result in an electrocution.
Christmas traditions are almost inalienable from the Christmas experience, but itís important that you exercise caution when planning any Christmas activity or when putting up any decorations. Candles, fireplaces, barbecue grills, electric lights and gifts for the kids are all part of the celebration, but they do pose many risks, with fires being the most common.
Safety Tips at Home
To make sure you have an accident and injury free Christmas this season, follow these basic household Christmas safety tips:
- Make sure that your house is equipped with fire alarms and extinguishers and always ensure that they are checked regularly.
- Avoid using threadbare and old string lights that could cause shocks and short circuits.
- If you are using any external lighting, outside of your house, make sure that the lights are designed specifically for outdoor use. Likewise, do not use indoor extension boxes outdoors.
- When using extension boxes, avoid connecting too many sets of lights to the same power source. If unavoidable restrict the number to three stings of light.
- If you had a campfire burning or just enjoyed a barbecue, make sure that all the embers are out before you head off to bed.
- Once your guests have left, check throughout the house for any burning or smoldering cigarettes, especially if you do not have a smoke detector.
Safety Tips for the Kitchen
Whether roasting marshmallows on an open air fire or digging into piggy pudding, itís hard to separate food from the merry making of the season. Under normal circumstances, cooking can be hazardous if youíre careless or distracted, making your kitchen the most likely disaster zone of the season.
- When thereís food on the stove, stay in the kitchen. There are plenty of distractions at Christmas, especially with screaming kids, gifts being unpacked and guests in high spirits. Make sure that you turn off the stove whenever you leave the kitchen, even if youíve assumed it will be just a minute.
- Never keep any inflammable materials near the stove, no matter how handy they might be whilst cooking. This would include your apron, oven mitts, paper bags, etc.
- Try to use the burners that are further behind, so as to reduce the likelihood of any burns from accidental spills or splashes.
- Make sure that the kitchen is off limits to anyone who is not cooking, as there is a high risk of accidents with boiling water and sharp objects, especially when cooking is rushed.
Safety Tips for Children
- Children are very often the unfortunate victims of accidents around the holiday season, because their natural sense of curiosity and their high energy levels often get the better of them. Try to childproof your house around the Christmas season and follow these safety tips to avoid any mishaps.
- When hanging ornaments or decorating a christmas tree keep in mind that no matter how much some ornaments may resemble toys, they are not made for children and would not meet the strict safety requirements that childrenís toys are required to meet. Make sure that they are well out of reach.
- While traditional wrapping paper and ribbons may not pose any health risks, certain foils and wrappers that gifts come in may contain lead, so donít leave any gift wrap lying around. Once the kids are done opening their presents, discard all foil, wrappers and ribbons.
- Plastic bags, cling film and other wrapping material can also pose a choking hazard for small children.
- Be careful about any devices that contain lithium batteries, better known as button batteries. Theyíre often found in remotes and are also used in musical greeting cards, which are popular around Christmas. Unfortunately, such greeting cards are rather flimsy and it is very easy for a child to get to the battery. They can be easily swallowed and may get lodged in the esophagus where they can cause burns in just a couple of hours.
- Never allow kids into the kitchen, especially during Christmas time. Allow them to help with mixing ingredients and molding sweets, but only attempt to cook when theyíre out of harmís way.
- Always buy age appropriate gifts. Check the labels and make sure that they comply with safety regulations. Avoid buying cheap low quality toys as they often contain harmful chemicals or are fragile and contain small breakable parts that could cause choking.
Christmas Trees, Mistletoe and Holly
The very mention of Christmas and the holiday season conjures up images of marshmallows, fireplaces and Christmas trees. Greenery adds to the ambience and it isnít quite as Christmassy without the Christmas trees, mistletoe and holly. Unfortunately, Christmas trees can be a potential fire hazard, so itís best to stick to artificial trees. This isnít much of a problem for city folks, as artificial trees are the norm in most apartments and flats. Likewise, itís unlikely that you would have access to real mistletoe and holly, but just in case you do, you should be warned that they can be toxic. Some varieties of mistletoe can be poisonous, as are the berries from certain types of holly. Make sure they stay out of reach of any kids or pets around the house.
- Holiday, candle and Christmas tree fire safety outreach materials - (http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.html)
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