Tips for Keeping Families Safe this Holiday Season
Nov. 30, 2017 at midnight
The holidays give us a chance to eat, drink, and be merry with our families, but they also often come with the traditional holiday injury: Dad slips and twists his ankle while hanging his classic Pirate-Santa Christmas lights, or the elf on the shelf falls and hits Grandpa on the head. Let's face it—we're all naughty sometimes, and this leads to more visits to the emergency room. The fact of the matter is that in 2015 there were six fatalities and over 14,000 injuries due to decorations alone. With some forethought and common sense, however, we can stay safe (and out of the emergency room) this holiday season.
Here are some potentials hazards to look out for, and a few ways to minimize their danger:
Decorations and falls: Check stepladders before using them; decorators should ensure they are set up correctly and stable.Try not to decorate inebriated: rooftops and intoxication are never a good combination. Moreover, people should not decorate alone—if there is a fall, someone standing by to assist the injured might prove invaluable. It goes without saying that children shouldn't be playing on ladders or decorating on rooftops at all, ever.
Fires: Always use light bulbs that are proven safe and keep trees far away from open flames, heaters, and power sources. While a tree may look great next to the open fireplace, it’s not the best area for a large, flammable, wooden object. Homeowners should also check their lights and power outlets and make sure they are working correctly. When getting a live tree, people should make sure to give a freshness test to make sure it's safe.
Ice: Of course, ice is rarely an issue in South Texas. But that makes traveling north even more precarious because we're not used to the dangers that ice brings. And, on the off chance that ice is around, we're usually really unprepared. If there is ice, everyone should take care to be extra cautious, even if it appears that the ice has melted. Wear sturdy shoes and drive and step carefully—try not to dash off to get that last-minute gift. On sidewalks and driveways, use ice melt, or even a mixture of sand and rock salt if nothing else is handy.
Drinking and driving: A hangover is not the worst outcome of a heavy eggnog night. Obviously, we should never drink and drive. However, with the holidays come a host of parties, and it's really easy to overdo it. Designated drivers are always a good idea. Fortunately, between rideshares, taxis, and public transportation, there are so many good ways for people to catch a ride if they’ve had a little too much to drink. Also, keep a rideshare app around for those less tech-savvy relatives; it will be twice as hard for Great-Uncle Larry to navigate the smartphone after he's had a few too many.
If there is trouble, however, it’s good to remember that there are more options for getting help than the traditional emergency room. Freestanding emergency room centers are fully-staffed, 24 hours emergency centers, are often closer to home and considerably more convenient; if one cannot be seen immediately, the wait time is sure to be much shorter.
Use common sense and stay safe this holiday season!