The holidays overflow with reasons to smile. The warm gatherings (despite not-so-warm temps in some parts of the country), being surrounded by friends and family, and the gift of giving are just a few such reasons. Despite the laughs and good cheer, during the holidays, mishaps can happen. In fact, Consumer Reports tells us that the holiday season brings with it an increase in falls around the house and house fires, as well as medical conditions like heart attacks.
For incidents that are a bit more controllable, luckily, you can prepare and prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are three ways to keep your family safe during the most wonderful time of the year.
- Prepare to weather the storms Who doesn’t love a white Christmas and the added excitement on the kids’ faces when they see the first flurries of the season fly? While you may be dreaming of a white Christmas, if you’re not prepared when it arrives, you could be left with a bit of a nightmare instead.
- Fireproof your holiday home Some of the fondest memories during the holiday season are those spent sitting with the family beside a crackling fire with hot chocolate in hand. To keep the warm glow safely under control this holiday season, remember to schedule a chimney cleaning and any other recommended maintenance on your fireplace or stove before you reach for the kindling. If you rely on electric heat, clear any debris from baseboards and pay special attention to heaters in rooms that you don’t often use. Look over any space heaters for signs of wear or damage, and do the same to those twinkling Christmas lights. Toss any that don’t seem safe.
- Ward off stubborn germs As many of us know all too well, the holiday season is also cold season. With a welcome uptick in friendly visitors, it’s important to remember to protect your family from unwanted germs that tend to sneak in with the increased foot traffic. Fight hard by keeping your home disinfected and stock up on antibacterial soap, making it available at every sink.
To prepare for a snowstorm, start by gathering backup supplies to keep your family home nice and toasty – and plugged in. A backup home power generator is an excellent choice to ensure everyone feels safe despite the frightful weather outside. Throw in a few extra blankets and stock up on non-perishable snacks just in case. If the blankets end up not being needed for warmth, you can always build a fort in the living room to weather the storm.
And perhaps more importantly, before the brunt of winter arrives, consider refilling any essential medications to avoid having to venture out in icy conditions. If you do have to venture out, don’t forget to store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Stash a bin in the trunk filled with blankets, snacks, extra mittens and a hat, a flashlight and a fully charged power bank for your phone, just in case you get stranded on the road. For added measure, if you have to travel long distances, tell a trusted neighbor when you plan to leave, and let them know what route you will be taking in case an unexpected storm puts you out of touch.
If you’re planning a holiday tablescape with candlelight to set the mood, remember to keep a close eye on the decor and put out any flames before leaving the room. Better yet, consider flame-free options like battery-operated candles. There are many beautiful options designed specifically for holiday decorating, and some even flicker as a real flame would.
Finally, to help keep your home protected, set a reminder to check the batteries and function of every smoke and carbon monoxide detector before your guests arrive or before it’s off to grandmother’s house we go.
And with increased holiday meal prep, keep in mind the recommended internal temperatures for anything you will serve as part of your holiday feats to avoid harmful food-borne illnesses like salmonella. Even the most experienced chef can benefit from a thermometer with a digital readout just to be sure.
Don’t let weather, fire, and food hazards cramp your family’s holiday style. Enjoy this time with your loved ones knowing that you did everything this side of the North Pole to keep them safe. By taking small precautions, you can give your family a holiday season filled with memories they will want to share for generations – and make Santa’s ride on the fire truck in the town parade the only emergency vehicle you welcome into the neighborhood this year.