Avoiding The Most Common Holiday Pitfalls and Disasters

Accidents leading to injuries tend to increase during the holidays, or rather, because of the holidays and otherwise poor decision making. According to this urgent care site, the four most common holiday accidents are poison, fire, falls and car accidents. In addition to accidents, financial missteps and falling victim to crime also tend to experience an upswing as well. Ensure your holidays are safe and avoid becoming a holiday statistic from the most common holiday pitfalls.

Avoiding The Most Common Holiday Pitfalls and Disasters

Poisoning

Many traditional holiday plants are poisonous. Mistletoe,infamous for encouraging holiday kisses is poisonous, but probably not in small doses.  Poinsettias cause rashes and upset stomach. The berries of mistletoe are poisonous, particularly to pets and Oleander may be the strongest, even one leaf could kill a child.  

Of course, the amount of food you eat increases the chances for complications. Even frozen turkeys are prone to carrying salmonella, so cooking fully or visiting relatives you trust to be competent cooks is the best bet. Also, pack some antacid.  If you eat too much, something is bound to make you sick.

Fire

Every year, over 2,000 fires happen on Thanksgiving. Many are a result of missteps related to deep fried birds and holiday decor gone wrong.

Don’t wear loose fitting clothing near ranges or ovens and keep pan handles pointed back, away from your body.  If you are the type to fry that turkey, do it in a fryer outside, ten or more feet from the house. Put the fryer on flat ground, and make sure the turkey is thawed and dry. Water and fryers do not mix, seriously. Watch out for the lid, handles and other metal parts attached to the fryer and always have a fire extinguisher nearby.

Lights present yet another common fire hazard. Use certified lights and replace them with lights of the same voltages. Before adorning your home, tree or yard check for and discard frayed cords and loose connections. When you are ready to plug in and light up, don’t plug in too many extension cords. Turn off indoor lights when unattended and put a timer on outdoor lights. Finally a little lighting pro tip, set timed lights for after 7:00pm to avoid energy rushes.  

One last note: fresh cut trees are less susceptible to catching fire. Make sure to keep trees watered and away from candles and fireplaces. Keep fireplaces covered with glass and the chimney clean.

Falls

The number of falls increase exponentially during the holidays as well when climbing on things and working in poor weather conditions arise. Most falls from ladders happen at home, where there is less supervision and untrained users.

Industry professionals repeatedly stress three major climbing safety tips.

  • Keep the ladder on level ground
  • Only use the appropriate type and height for the task and use it as designed
  • Maintain three points of control and do not lean or stretch beyond your grip.

Traveling

The biggest dangers in traveling over the holidays are preventable. Wear seat belts! One in seven passengers don’t wear seat belts, and over half of people killed or seriously injured in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

From spiked egg nog to champagne toasts, with holiday festivities comes a higher rate drinking. Please do not drink and drive, or let others drink and drive. It is important to have fun. It is more important to pay attention to the tasks at hand. Along with this goes texting or calling. If you have a message that you must respond to, have a passenger help or wait until the next rest stop. This is easier said than done, but it all starts with you. Not just you as a driver, but you as a passenger should demand that anyone driving a vehicle you are in to not engage in distracted driving.

Make sure the car is prepared for long miles in potentially hazardous conditions. The spare tire should be checked that it is usable. Keep an emergency kit, including roadside flares, in case of a breakdown.

Nearly every problem that will happen on the roadways this holiday season will happen because of one of the above oversights or careless behavior. Be responsible. Be safe. Arrive in one piece on time.

Security

Don’t share holiday travel plans on social media. This is an apparent no-brainer, but everyone is guilty. As soon as you tell one person on social media that you are going away, everyone else on social media will also know. Keep the knowledge of your trip between close friends or family, and have those people come by your house to check on things periodically.

Don’t let your house appear empty. Keeping your TV or lights on a timer may make crooks think that someone is home. Most burglaries occur during broad daylight, because it is easier to go undetected when others are least expecting it, but also because burglars don’t expect anyone to be home.

Break-ins are common any time of the year, but especially around the holidays when people are buying new things. Burglars are especially interested in things like jewelry and electronics, which have high resale values. These are items purchased frequently during the holiday season, so expect more trouble with prowlers.

Security systems are expensive to install and maintain, but there are more basic ways to keep prowlers away. A dog, or even signs of dogs, is the first line of defense. Even if it’s just a little noisemaker, crooks don’t like pesky problems getting in their way. Sturdier locks and surveillance, or mock surveillance systems will deter criminals looking for an easy target. It’s also wise to watch what you put into the trash or what you leave in the garage. If there are boxes of fancy toys, or expensive cars in the garage, a burglar will know that there are expensive items in the house to use for a shopping spree.

Debt

Christmas shopping can quickly turn anyone’s holiday season into a nightmare for the ages. Some more desperate options to fund Christmas have involved mortgage refinancing. Doing this over the holiday’s might actually be the right idea for you, granting you the ability to skip your mortgage payment to save for Christmas shopping. However, for some people it’s not a good idea or even an option. Don’t fall into a debt-hole you’ll never be able to climb out of.

Still for some people this can be a holiday life giver. For people that know they already have a high interest rate and need the extra motivation to refinance into a better payment plan, this could be the perfect time and also bring home some extra cash. That’s a unique and fortunate situation that most people are not in. For most people, it’s probably a terrible idea, specifically if your home is losing value or the closing agent costs are as much as the extra cash you’d get back. Big money decisions can put a hole in your economic future in an instant. Be careful during these times especially.

Understand, that at most every turn, there is a potential for disaster. Knowing this is the best defense to keep bad things from happening. Just like walking gingerly across an icy sidewalk, it’s important to watch your step everywhere from ladders to long highways to bank withdrawals.

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