Holiday Safety Tips for a Hazard-Free Season [2023]

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and togetherness, but they can also bring unexpected accidents and injuries. With so many people traveling, cooking, decorating, and celebrating, there are plenty of opportunities for accidents – some of which may be catastrophic or even tragic.

The attorneys at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group know all too well that accidents can occur at any time, but the best way to avoid them is to try to keep them from happening in the first place. In this article, we have compiled holiday safety tips that will hopefully keep you and your loved ones out of the emergency room and make this holiday memorable for all the right reasons.

Winter Holiday Safety Tips

Key Takeaways

  • To avoid holiday accidents, follow safety guidelines when decorating, traveling, and cooking.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and use correct carving techniques for added protection against slip and fall injuries.
  • Ensure electrical decorations are in good working condition, wear helmets while riding Christmas toys, practice fire safety measures, and plan ahead to reduce the risk of intoxication accidents during the holidays.

holiday decorating accidents

Tips to Avoid Holiday Decorating Accidents

The holiday season is synonymous with beautiful decorations, but being festive comes with its fair share of hazards. During the 2022 holiday season, a staggering 14,800 individuals ended up in the emergency room with injuries related to holiday decorating. Some common injuries associated with Christmas decorations include:

  • Slip and falls, which account for around 40 percent of injuries and are often caused by falls while putting up decorations
  • Cuts and lacerations from broken ornaments or decorations
  • Burns from candles, kitchen fires or faulty electrical wiring
  • Eye injuries from flying debris or broken ornaments

To prevent these accidents, it is important to adhere to ladder safety guidelines, wear appropriate footwear, handle decorations with care, and ensure that electrical decorations are in good working condition. 

Safety measures should be closely followed when setting up holiday decorations. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep decorations away from open flames, such as burning candles, fireplaces, or heaters
  • Ensure the correct wattage for light bulbs is used
  • Unplug lights when they are not in use
  • Keep decorations away from children and pets
  • Exercise caution when using ladders and other tools
  • Wear protective gear when using sharp objects
  • When hanging decorations, make sure they are secure and will not easily fall or become loose

Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents during the holidays can be attributed to various factors, including icy or slippery sidewalks, inadequate maintenance of walkways and entryways, and falling from ladders while decorating. Wearing shoes with grips and rubber soles can minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents.

Maintaining cleanliness in high-traffic areas can help prevent slip-and-fall accidents during the holidays by reducing the potential of tripping over objects or obstacles. Keeping these areas organized and clean allows for spills to be quickly addressed, which can help avoid slippery surfaces that can lead to falls. It is also important not to leave cooking food unattended during the holidays.

Ladder Safety

Ladder safety is crucial during holiday decorating, as ladders are frequently used to access elevated places to hang decorations, such as wreaths and indoor and outdoor lights. It’s advisable to perform safety checks before using a ladder, including looking for visible defects or damage, ensuring stability, and confirming weight capacity.

Maintaining balance and correct ladder positioning is key to ensuring safety. Use two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand to ensure stability, and face the ladder while climbing up or down. By adhering to these tips and following the manufacturer’s instructions, you can avoid ladder-related accidents during holiday decorating.

Holiday Traveling Accidents

Holiday Safety Tips to Avoid Traveling Accidents

Traveling during the holiday season can also pose risks, with air and vehicle travel accidents quite prevalent. It’s important to prioritize you and your family’s safety while traveling during the holidays.

Air travel safety includes packing lightly, using both shoulder straps on backpacks, and being cautious with overhead compartments. Vehicle travel safety involves checking your car before long journeys, avoiding drinking and driving, and being mindful of speed. Taking the necessary precautions can minimize the risk of accidents during holiday travel.

Air Travel

Air travel accidents during holidays can range from minor injuries to life-threatening situations. To reduce the risk of air travel accidents during holidays, it is recommended to:

  1. Check for travel advisories or restrictions before heading to the airport. This includes staying informed about any updated guidelines or requirements for COVID-19 safety protocols.
  2.  When packing for air travel, ensure you follow the airline’s guidelines for carry-on and checked baggage, avoiding prohibited items like sharp objects, flammable materials, or liquids exceeding the allowed limit. Packing light can help prevent back injuries from carrying heavy luggage during air travel. 
  3. Follow all security protocols at airports and on the airplane. Pay close attention to the instructions provided by the cabin crew during the flight, following their guidance regarding safety procedures, emergency exits, and any specific instructions related to the aircraft. 
  4. Keep your personal belongings secure by using locks for your luggage and keeping valuable items like passports, wallets, and electronic devices within reach or in a safe place.
  5. Be extra cautious when storing bags in overhead compartments, as bags can shift during flight and cause injuries if not properly stowed and secured. 
  6. Stay seated while the fasten seatbelt sign is lit, even if it appears stable outside of the aircraft.

By adhering to these air travel safety tips, you can ensure a smooth and secure journey during the holiday season while prioritizing your safety and the safety of others.

Vehicle Travel

Driving during the holiday season can be particularly challenging due to increased traffic and unpredictable weather conditions. It’s important to perform car checks, like assessing tire pressures, checking windscreen wipers and screenwash, and ensuring all lights function correctly before embarking on a long journey.

Observe the speed limits is extremely important while traveling for the holidays. Speeding is a major factor in accidents. Stick to the posted speed limits to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Refraining from alcohol consumption before driving is imperative. Drinking and driving can result in severe accidents, including catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Opt for alternatives to drinking and driving, such as Uber/Lyft, public transportation, or having a designated driver.

Holiday Cooking Accidents

Tips to Avoid Holiday Cooking Accidents

Cooking and carving accidents are common during the holiday season, with cuts, burns, and fires frequent occurrences. When preparing a holiday feast, it’s important to:

  • Use oven mitts when handling hot dishes or utensils
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies
  • Never leave cooking food unattended
  • Use caution when handling sharp knives and other kitchen tools
  • Keep small children and pets away from hot surfaces and cooking areas
  • Properly dispose of sharp objects, such as carving knives, while cleaning up after a meal.

    It is important to always to exercise caution when handling potentially hazardous objects in the kitchen during holiday preparations.

Holiday Electrical Accidents

Tips to Avoid Holiday Electrical Accidents

Electrical accidents are another common occurrence during the holiday season. To avoid these accidents, it is recommended to:

  • Inspect lights for damages before use
  • Avoid overloading sockets with too many decorations or extension cords
  • Use holiday decorations that have been tested for safety by a reputable source
  • Turn off Christmas lights when leaving the house or going to sleep
  • Unplug decorations and lights when not in use

It is also important to remember never to use indoor lights for outdoor decorating, as they are not designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. Following these holiday safety tips can prevent electrical hazards during the holidays.

If an accident does occur, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Minor burns can be treated with cool water and burn ointment, while more severe injuries require professional medical treatment.

Holiday Fire Hazards

Holiday Safety Tips to Avoid Fires

Holiday fires are a leading cause of residential fires, with Christmas trees, candles, fireplaces, and cooking being the most common culprits. Here’s how to prevent common holiday fires:

Christmas Trees

Christmas tree safety includes keeping the tree watered and using LED lights to reduce fire hazards. A dry Christmas tree presents a significant fire hazard due to its increased flammability and rapid burning rate. Adequate hydration of the tree is necessary to minimize the risk of fire. Alternatively, an artificial tree can be a safer option, as it does not require watering and is less prone to fire hazards.

Choosing the right type of lights for your tree can also prevent fires. LED lights are the most appropriate for use on a Christmas tree, as they generate less heat and are more energy-efficient when compared to traditional lights.

Candles

Candle safety involves keeping them away from flammable materials and using flameless alternatives. Candles start 45 percent of all home decoration fires. For safe candle use during the holidays, maintain a distance of at least 12 inches between lit candles and flammable objects like furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, and paper.

Alternatively, battery-operated candles can create a warm ambiance without the risk of fire hazards associated with a burning candle. Using flameless candles allows you to enjoy the beauty and atmosphere of lit candles without worrying about potential accidents or fires caused by leaving a burning candle unattended.

Fireplaces

Fireplace safety includes regular maintenance and using a screen to prevent sparks from escaping. A professional inspection and cleaning of your fireplace and chimney before usage during the holidays is fundamental for preventing home fires.

Establishing a safety zone around the fireplace and verifying that your smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order are essential safety measures to take before lighting your fireplace during the holidays.

Turkey Fryers

Turkey fryer safety requires following these guidelines:

  1. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Never use turkey fryers indoors.
  3. Be aware of the risks of spilling hot oil, tipping over, and overheating.
  4. Take precautions to prevent burns, fires, and other accidents.

Abide by the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe usage, such as never exceeding 200°C (400°F) when heating the oil and using the thermometer supplied with the turkey fryer to measure the oil temperature. Utilize the fryer outdoors and on a flat, stable surface to ensure the safety of yourself and others during the holiday season.

Preventing fire hazards is crucial during the holiday season. Here’s some other holiday safety tips to remember to avoid fires: 

  • Inspect and maintain your smoke detectors regularly. Check the batteries and ensure they are in working condition. Replace any faulty detectors to guarantee early detection of any potential fires.
  • Keep flammable materials away from open flames. Ensure that curtains, decorations, and other combustible items are placed at a safe distance from candles, fireplaces, or any other heat sources.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. The holiday season often involves elaborate meal preparations, so staying vigilant in the kitchen is essential. Keep flammable items, such as oven mitts or wooden utensils, away from stovetops. Use timers to remind yourself to check on food regularly.
  • Dispose of ashes and smoking materials safely. If you have a fireplace or fire pit, properly extinguish the fire and dispose of the ashes in a metal container. Keep the container outside, away from any flammable materials.
  • Have a fire evacuation plan. Create a clear and concise plan for everyone in your home to follow in case of a fire. Designate a meeting place outside the house and practice the plan regularly.

Toy-Related Accidents

Tips to Avoid Toy or Gift-Related Injuries

Toy or gift-related injuries can be avoided by choosing age-appropriate toys, buying from reputable manufacturers, and requiring helmets for all riding toys. Choosing safe and appropriate toys for children of various age groups plays a significant role in preventing accidents and injuries.

Being mindful of the potential hazards that toys can pose will help you make informed decisions when selecting holiday gifts for children. Following the tips below, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for the entire family.

Age-appropriate toys

Choosing age-appropriate toys is crucial in preventing choking hazards and other injuries. Toys designed for specific age groups account for elements such as small parts that may present a choking hazard, the complexity of play, and the possibility of injury.

By adhering to the age recommendations on toy packaging and considering the individual child’s abilities and developmental stage, you can choose toys that are appropriate for your child’s capabilities and reduce the risk of accidents or harm.

Reputable manufacturers

Reputable manufacturers are more likely to produce safe and high-quality toys. They have developed trust with consumers and recognize the significance of preserving that trust. Moreover, reputable manufacturers have stringent quality control processes to guarantee that their toys meet safety standards and are created with superior-quality materials.

Purchasing toys for children from reputable manufacturers is an essential factor in ensuring the child’s safety and well-being. Researching and verifying the manufacturer’s certifications for safety and quality standards can help you make an informed decision when selecting toys during the holiday season.

Avoiding hazardous materials

To ensure children’s safety, it’s important to avoid toys containing hazardous materials like lead or small parts that can pose a choking risk. Materials deemed hazardous in children’s toys include chemicals in plastic materials, such as phthalates, cadmium, and lead.

Being aware of the potential hazards and taking necessary precautions can help prevent accidents and injuries related to hazardous materials in toys. Always read labels and follow the age recommendations when selecting toys for children to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Helmets for Riding Toys

The use of helmets for riding toys is crucial in protecting against head injuries. Ensuring that children wear helmets when using riding toys, such as bicycles, scooters, and skateboards, can significantly reduce the risk of head traumas, concussions, and skull fractures.

When selecting a helmet for riding toys, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Compliance with safety standards
  • Proper fit
  • Impact protection
  • Adjustable straps
  • Ventilation

By prioritizing safety and providing the necessary safety gear for your child, you can create a safe and enjoyable holiday season for the entire family.

Holiday Intoxication Accidents

Tips to Avoid Intoxication Accidents

Driving while intoxicated due to alcohol, drugs, or a prescription medication is a recipe for disaster. If you are planning to imbibe this holiday season, plan ahead. Choosing alternatives to drinking and driving, like using Uber/Lyft or assigning a designated driver, can help prevent intoxication accidents. During the holiday season, it’s essential to prioritize your own safety and that of others.

By taking necessary precautions and planning ahead, you can reduce the risk of accidents and create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.

Injured in a Winter Holiday Accident? Contact Us.

The holiday season should be a time of joy and celebration. By following these holiday safety tips, hopefully, you can have a safe and happy one. However, if the unexpected happens and you or a loved one is injured in a holiday accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to understand that you have rights and options for seeking justice and compensation. The team at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group can help.

Our experienced Texas personal injury attorneys have a deep understanding of holiday accidents and the potential hazards, such as slip and falls, traveling accidents, cooking mishaps, electrical accidents, and fire hazards. We can discuss your situation and advise you on the best course of action. Don’t let a holiday accident ruin your festive season. Contact us today at 817-207-4878 (HURT) for a free consultation.

Some Facts About Safety Tips for Holiday Seasons:

  • ✅ Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day are the top three days for home candle fires. (Source: The American Red Cross)
  • ✅ Heating equipment causes over 50,000 fires annually during the holiday season. (Source: MSA Safety)
  • ✅ More than half of all home decoration structure fires are caused by candles, with December being the most common month for such incidents. (Source: MSA Safety)
  • ✅ Unattended cooking equipment is a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires and half of associated deaths. (Source: MSA Safety)
  • ✅ Regularly checking and replacing the batteries of smoke detectors reduces the risk of home fire death by half. (Source: The American Red Cross)
Holiday Safety Tips

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Benson Varghese Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned trial attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has been to trial throughout state and federal courts in Texas. 

As a former insurance adjuster himself, Benson has insights into how insurance companies evaluate claims – and why without the proper encouragement, they are likely to undervalue a claim. Benson uses these insights combined with his clout in the courtroom to obtain justice for his clients – in and outside of the courtroom.

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