The upcoming Thanksgiving celebration and holiday season are
known for joyful times shared with family and friends. Unfortunately, during this busy time there is also an increased risk of injury on the road and in the home.
More than 10,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments each year for falls, cuts and electrical shocks associated with holiday decorations. While, on the road, more than 4,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day- the most fatalities in that short period of time all year.
"Because holidays are filled with hurried activity, people sometimes become less careful of the unsuspecting dangers in their home and on the road," said Dr. Brian Hancock, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "To reduce the risk of holiday emergencies, people should keep safety in mind and never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol."
The American College of Emergency Physicians offers the following safety tips to help the public avoid some of the top injuries during the coming holiday season.
* Clear snow from pathways and sprinkle salt on patches of
* Check children’s shoes, socks, and gloves periodically to make sure they are dry while playing outdoors in cold weather to avoid frostbite and hypothermia.
* Find a safe place for children to sled. Make sure the location is free of fences, roadways, trees, and other hazards. Choose a hill where children cannot reach fast, uncontrollable speeds.
Candles and Fireplaces
* Keep lighters and candles away from children and never leave
burning candles unattended.
* Have chimneys & fireplaces professionally inspected yearly
to ensure they are safe and the chimney is unobstructed.
* Do not hang stockings on a fireplace that you plan to use.
Decor and Christmas Trees
* Check decorative lights to make they are not broken and the
wires are not bare or frayed.
* Turn off all decorative lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
* Avoid using sharp decorations and ornaments.
* When buying an artificial tree, be sure the label indicates it is "fire resistant."
* When buying a live tree, check for freshness (green, full of
needles, sticky trunk). Fresh trees are less of a fire hazard and should be watered frequently.
Gift and Toy Safety
* Give children toys recommended for their age to avoid safety
* Buy battery-operated toys and avoid those needing to be
plugged into an electrical outlet.
* Prepare foods in advance if possible to reduce holiday distractions.
* Never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven.
* Avoid wearing loose clothing and long sleeves that can easily catch on fire while cooking.
* Turn off and unplug appliances that are not in use.
* Turn pot handles inward so they will not get knocked off the
* Fully cook meats and poultry, and completely wash fruits and vegetables.
* Always keep raw and cooked foods separate and use separate utensils for each.
* Defrost meats in the refrigerator instead of on the countertop and cook defrosted food immediately.
* Wear seatbelts at all times.
* Place all children under age 12 in the back seat and secure all children in appropriate safety restraints for their age and size.
* Never drink and drive; assign a designated driver.
* Be aware of surroundings, including changes in weather or
* Have a first aid kit nearby.
* Know where the fire extinguisher is kept.
* Keep emergency telephone numbers by your telephone.
ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine with nearly 23,000 members. ACEP is committed to improving the quality of emergency care through continuing education, research and public education.
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and a Government Services Chapter which represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.