The holidays offer many opportunities to gather together for a special celebration. But many holiday traditions can prove hazardous when individuals fail to take safety precautions. At Joye Law Firm, we care about keeping you safe. Here are some safety tips to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way at your next holiday gathering.

Safety Tips for Hosting Parties at Your Place

Here are some household safety tips to keep in mind if you’re hosting friends and family at your home:

  • Check the house for potential safety hazards Before visitors arrive, walk through any part of your property that will be open to guests. Take note of any risks or defects that could compromise safety. If you identify any hazards, address them promptly. Tighten handrails, clean vents, add non-slip area rugs to slick floors, and fix tripping hazards like loose cables and clutter.
  • Make sure safety detectors are working – Test smoke, carbon monoxide, drowning prevention, and other alarms around your property to ensure they’re functional. Invest in automatic light timers or alarm systems to keep your home well-lit and secure.
  • Plan to keep children entertained and safe Always ensure kids are supervised inside and outside the home, especially in the kitchen. Keep kids at a safe distance from hot or uncooked food, sharp objects, and flammable materials. Keep dangerous items like window shade pull cords, open candle flames, electrical cables, and choking hazards out of the reach of little hands, too.
  • Don’t drink and drive South Carolina sees many drunk driving car accidents over the holiday season. Don’t make an emergency run to the grocery store if you’ve been drinking. Avoid cooking near hot stoves or monitoring turkey fryers if you’re under the influence. One bad judgment call could lead to a tragedy.

Kitchen and Food Safety Tips for Holiday Meals

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more home cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day in the United States. In one recent year, U.S. fire departments responded to roughly 1,400 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. The rest of the holidays aren’t far behind.

Follow these fire prevention tips to keep your home safe this holiday:

  • Never leave ovens, stovetops, or other heat sources unattended.
  • Use a timer and check the food you are cooking at regular intervals.
  • Never place glassware on a stovetop since it might explode from the direct heat.
  • Keep pot holders, food wrappers, loose clothing, and other flammable items away from hot surfaces, candles, and kitchen cooking fires.
  • Position pots and pans on the stove with their handles turned inward.
  • If you deep-fry any food, place the fryer outdoors and away from walls and fabrics.
  • Make sure food is completely thawed and dried before adding it to hot oil for frying.
  • Never attempt to douse an oil or grease fire with water. Instead, quickly turn off the heat source, pull on some oven mitts, and smother the flames with a lid.
  • Have an accessible, working fire extinguisher, and make sure you know how to use it.
  • Never leave children or animals unattended near hot surfaces or open flames.

Follow these additional kitchen and food safety tips when serving holiday meals:

  • Check with guests to learn whether they have allergies or other dietary restrictions. Plan to let them know which foods to avoid at dinner.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling food.
  • Sanitize all food preparation surfaces and utensils.
  • Keep raw meat away from other uncooked food, vegetables, and cooked meats. Use separate cutting boards for each and sanitize after every use.
  • Never keep fresh or thawed turkeys in the refrigerator for more than two days before cooking. For frozen turkeys, plan on allowing one day of thawing in the refrigerator for every five pounds of meat.
  • If you plan to cook stuffing inside a turkey, wait until just before you roast it. Use a meat thermometer to ensure an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Contact the U.S.D.A. Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854 for turkey and meat-related cooking safety questions.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking and eat within four days. If you freeze leftovers, do it immediately, not after the food sits in the fridge for days.

Holiday Road Trip and Air Travel Safety Tips

The holiday season is  one of the busiest travel times of the year. Keep these road trip and air travel safety tips in mind:

  • Make a travel plan – Check routes ahead of time for detours, road work, or poor driving conditions.
  • Allow for extra travel time Expect traffic delays. Don’t commit to arriving at a specific time to reduce stress and combat the urge to speed to get to your destination.
  • Check your vehicle for safety Ensure tires, fluids, wipers, and brakes are in good shape before hitting the road.
  • Create an emergency kit for roadside emergencies Include blankets, road flares, flashlights, phone chargers, water, snacks, and first aid kits.
  • Drive carefully and considerately at all times – You’ll likely encounter dangerous or inconsiderate drivers on your trip. Be patient, and don’t provoke aggressive drivers by yelling, flashing your lights, or brake-checking These behaviors could spark a road rage accident.
  • Bring activities to keep children busy Many distracted driving crashes happen when parents try to attend to kids’ needs while driving. Provide snacks, pillows for naps, and entertaining books or toys for the journey.
  • Check car seats – Make sure your child’s car seat or booster seat is installed correctly and they are safely buckled before departing.
  • Restrain pets If you are traveling with pets, keep them securely restrained in the back seat with harnesses, pet seat belts, carriers, or crates. Pets can be dangerously distracting to drivers.
  • Plan for airport delays Getting through security and to your gate on time can be a hassle, even during non-holiday periods. Expect crowds, cluttered seating areas, airport construction, and shorter tempers among travelers due to holiday stress. Do your best to avoid slip-and-fall hazards or arguments with other passengers.

 For All Personal Injury Cases, Just Call Joye

If your holiday gets derailed by a car accident, home cooking fire, or any other harmful incident, don’t hesitate to contact the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm for help. Call us at (888) 324-3100 or contact us online for a free initial case review.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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