The holiday season is often the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. While it is easy to get caught up in the celebrations and cheer, it also pays to keep your eye out for any hazards that could spoil your holiday fun. By understanding these hazards and following a few holiday safety tips, you can help your family remain safe this season.
Car and Travel Safety
Holiday travelers and last-minute shoppers mean the roads are jam-packed with cars, and holiday parties mean too many people are behind the wheel after more than a few drinks.
For this reason, drivers need to pay extra attention when they hit the road in December. Some tips to help you remain safe on Atlanta-area roads during this bustling season include:
- Never drink and drive. Instead, take a cab, use a ridesharing service or designate a driver.
- Drive defensively — and patiently. This can help you avoid accidents caused by other drivers who are drunk, distracted or simply careless.
We often put a lot of thought into how to make our homes look beautiful for the holidays, but we fail to consider whether these decorations increase our risk of injury. Some decorating safety tips to help keep your family out of the emergency room include:
- Be careful of where you put the tree. Large Christmas trees can easily block sightlines and create fall hazards. Select a spot that is out of the flow of foot traffic and does not block doorways.
- Secure your tree. Some large trees require more than a sturdy stand. If you have a tall or large tree, consider using guy-wires to anchor it to the wall or ceiling to prevent it from falling. This is especially important for families that have young children who may push or tug on the tree.
- Beware of artificial snow and other similar substances. They can irritate lungs if used incorrectly. Always follow the directions exactly when using these products.
- Check each string of lights before using them. Replace strings with broken or loose sockets, bare wires, or other issues.
- Never climb a ladder while home alone, and always use proper precautions. Ladder falls can be especially devastating, leaving the victim with major disabilities.
One of the biggest issues with holiday decor is the risk of fire. Real trees dry out quickly, and many popular decorations are also flammable.
Follow these tips to reduce your risk of a house fire this season:
- Keep the tree away from heat sources. Choose a place for your tree that is far from the fireplace, radiator, and heating vent. Any source of heat will dry your tree out faster, creating a fire hazard.
- Know the limits of an extension cord. While you should always follow the package instructions, most standard light strings recommend using no more than three with a single extension cord. Do not stretch your extension cord across rooms; if it is necessary, tape down the cord to reduce tripping risk.
- Never leave lights on when you are not home. Turning them off when you go to bed is also a good idea. Lights can short out and cause a fire, especially when your tree is dry.
- Pay careful attention to any open flame. The Menorah, candles, yule log, and a number of other holiday traditions all center on an open flame. When any of these are in use, ensure your children cannot reach lighters or matches, and you follow other fire safety guidelines.
- Be careful decorating the fireplace. Before lighting a fire, completely remove all greenery, stockings, boughs, and other decorations.
Toy and Product Safety
We all know what the kids are looking forward to most this holiday — the toys. But many toys can pose a risk to children, especially those who are too young to understand the dangers. Some tips for toy safety this holiday season include:
- Read the packaging. Never buy your child a toy designed for a much older child, or that may pose dangers (such as a heating element) that the child cannot yet understand.
- Read the instructions. Read all of the directions and other paperwork included with each toy, and ensure your child uses it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Mall and Shopping Safety
One of the most dangerous places you go this holiday season may be your neighborhood shopping mall. Safeguard your personal safety and financial information with these tips:
- Do not take out your card until asked for it. Holding it in your hand gives a thief time to see the number, the code on the back, and other information. Also, it pays to shield your PIN when entering it.
- Stay on your toes to avoid pickpockets. Keep your purse in front of you and close to your body, or carry your wallet in your front pants pocket.
- Be careful in parking lots. Have your keys in your hand, and, when possible, avoid walking to your car alone. Do not text on your way to your car.
- Do not leave packages visible in your car. While you may know it is just a teddy bear for your niece, a thief does not. When possible, take all purchases and gifts home immediately.
- Be aware of store holiday displays. Do not let children play with these displays, and keep an eye out for extension cords or other hazards.
If you suffer injuries in a holiday season accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. helps Atlanta-area personal accident victims get the money they deserve to pay for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more. Call us today at 404-474-0804 to learn more.