Your home can be a wonderful haven for friends and family during the holidays. It can also be a madhouse full of holiday hazards that can stop fun in its tracks. There are tons of accidents that can happen at home during this time of year. However, there are just as many ways to prevent these mishaps to keep you and your family out of harm’s way. Here are some holiday hazards to be wary of around your home and how to prevent your friends and family from being hurt.
Holiday hazards to look out for.
Slips and falls are a common household injury. Around the holidays, there are a lot more ways to fall prey to this peril. To prevent some of these holiday spills:
Practice ladder safety.
If you’re hanging decorations inside or outside of your home, have someone spot the person at the top of the ladder. Have them hold the ladder steady while you avoid power lines and secure your footing. As you come down, make sure you’re not skipping rungs and that you have solid footing on each rung before moving to the next one.
Clean as you go.
If you’re whipping up your holiday specialty, be sure to address any floor spills as soon as possible. Keep a mop, paper towels, or cloths nearby to help absorb any messes you may make. Try not to rush around the kitchen, especially when moving hot dishes. Plus, use proper kitchen safety materials and practices so you can cook more safely and efficiently.
Stash the cords.
It can be easy for anyone, especially kids, to trip over loose cords while they’re not paying attention. If possible, stash loose cords along the bottoms of your walls or behind furniture. If there are cords out in the open, invest in some gaff or electrical tape from your local hardware store to tape them down to your floors.
Exposed wiring can pose a major hazard for curious kids, nosy pets, and even absent-minded adults. To stay away from shocking revelations this holiday:
Repair or replace broken lights.
Inspect your lights before using them. Wrap up any exposed wires with electrical tape or just replace the lights altogether. It’s not worth the potential shock or fire to keep the old lights around. Cover any broken bulbs or exposed filaments to prevent shocks and sharp glass from harming others.
Everyone loves to snuggle up by a fire, light a few holiday-scented candles, or heat up the oven for a holiday treat. However, it only takes a moment for a flickering flame to spread and get completely out of control. So, if fires or high temperatures are a part of your holiday plans, be sure to avoid holiday hazards by:
Keeping an eye on your stove and oven.
Don’t divide your attention outside of the kitchen while cooking. When nothing is in the oven or on a stove eye, make sure everything is turned off so that nothing flammable crosses a hot path.
Keeping small children and pets away.
The pitter-patter of all kinds of feet through your home don’t belong in the kitchen while you’re cooking, especially when handling hot or heavy dishes. You may even want to cook on the back-burners of the stove and keep food away from the edges of counters to keep it off the floor.
Extinguishing candles at the end of the night, and not using real candles on your tree.
Instead, use battery-powered candle lights. They’re safer and they won’t get messy wax everywhere!
Having your fireplace examined before you use it.
Flammable debris may have entered your chimney while your fireplace was out of use. So, make sure to maintain and sweep out your fireplace year-round, as well as open the flue when it is in use.
Checking your smoke detectors.
You’ll want to be properly alerted if something does go awry. So, make sure your smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.
Keeping objects AWAY from space heaters and radiators.
Keep a keen eye on either one of these if you’re using them to heat your home this winter. Don’t toss blankets, curtains, wrapping paper, or anything else flammable on or near a heat source. Additionally, don’t place your tree or other natural holiday decorations too close to heaters.
There are tasty treats to be had, possibly ones that are exclusive to this time of year. However, these treats should be the only things consumed heartily and safely. Help keep these holiday traditions safe from holiday hazards by:
Choosing age-appropriate toys.
Read the labels and age ranges for the types of toys you gift. Be careful of giving younger children playthings with small parts or batteries that could become choking hazards. Be aware that even if you give an older child an age-appropriate toy, younger siblings may steal some playtime. So, try to choose gifts that are appropriate for all ages in the household.
Checking expiration dates on canned foods and condiments.
Some canned goods may be marked as “non-perishable,” but they still have an expiration date. Before serving food, pay attention to when the food expires and how they should be stored. If you’re unsure about serving it, it’s best to steer clear and replace that item with a fresh one.
The same utensils should NOT be used for both cooked and raw meat. If you must use the same utensils, wash them thoroughly under hot soap and water. Limit cross-contamination by washing your hands between prepping, cooking, and serving, and don’t leave out any meat or dairy for long periods of time.
Enforce a cut-off.
If your holiday celebration is more geared towards adults, enforce cut-offs for alcoholic beverages. Encourage and accommodate designated drivers and provide resources for taxi or ride-sharing services to prevent drunk driving. Also, offer plenty of water and food to your guests in addition to these drinks.
The holidays can be prime time for thieves to snatch your belongings or your information. Keep your stuff secure by:
Limiting your posts on social media.
It can be tempting to post real-time happy memories as they’re being made. However, your picture in a new location can give thieves the heads-up that you’re not home. To prevent break-ins, save the posting on social media for after the parties or your travel plans.
Using your credit card instead of your debit card.
Shopping online with your credit card instead of your debit card, especially for large purchases, can be a more secure way to protect your information. This is because any hackers won’t be able to gain access to your real cash. Plus, in most cases, it’s easier to get your credit card balance back than it is to get your cash back into a debit account.
Getting a house-sitter.
The best way to make sure that thieves believe that a home is occupied so they don’t break in is to have someone actually occupy the house. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, have someone house-sit and grab your mail until you come back. If you’re going to be gone for a short period of time, have a neighbor keep an eye out for anyone suspicious lurking around.
Using secure networks.
When online shopping, make sure that the web address has an https and a padlock at the beginning of the site name. This ensures that you’re shopping over a secure connection where your information is the most difficult for hackers to decode. Additionally, avoid putting personal information into a website when you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection. It can be extremely easy for a hacker to access all sorts of information on your computer from a network that’s not password protected.
These are just some of the common ways to protect you, your family, and your belongings from holiday hazards. At the end of the day, just make sure you’re not letting your guard down during this time of year to keep the holiday cheer going.
It’s also important to have good home insurance in case something does happen. Homeowners’ insurance can help you take care of the medical bills of someone hurt at your home, replace or repair your property in a covered loss, and lots more. The best news is that our experts can help you get great rates on the coverage you need. To start getting free quotes on customized coverage, give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today!