The end of the year marks a time of great celebration and good cheer. As families and friends gather for festivities, there are also some potentially dangerous situations to keep in mind so that a trip to the emergency room doesn’t ruin your holiday season. Here are eight tips to help your family stay safe.

Alcohol in Kids’ Reach

Alcohol is in abundance during the holidays. As parents are busy socializing, it’s all too easy to take your eyes off what the children are doing. Half-full glasses are often within their reach, and kids are curious. Alcohol poisoning in kids is more common over the holidays. Don’t let it happen to yours. Round up glasses and keep any alcohol out of the reach of your young visitors over the holidays and always.

Medications

When you have visitors in your home who aren’t accustomed to storing their medications out of the reach of curious children, there is a far greater chance for a dangerous interaction to occur. Pills can look just like candy, so take the time to ask your guests to store their medications out of sight and out of reach. Don’t forget purses and travel bags—pills are easily accessible in both. Give your guests a place to store their bags—your pets will be safer, too.

Pets

Speaking of your pets, the holidays are ripe with danger for the furry members of your families. Food is everywhere and some of it is dangerous—and potentially fatal—for your pets. Don’t leave garbage bags or plates with leftovers in reach of your animals. Dogs can choke on small bones and some foods like grapes, raisins and chocolate are poisonous. If you suspect your pet has eaten one of these foods, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Challenging Gift Packages

It seems that product packaging has become more and more challenging—we’ve all dealt with a new package that seems impenetrable. Use caution when opening packaging with sharp objects—it’s not worth a trip to the hospital to stitch up deep cuts. Consider using a specialty tool such as the Plastic Surgeon Package Opener, which features a long ergonomic handle and a surgical steel blade with an auto-close safety cover.

Tipsy Trees

We’re talking about a different tipsy here—pets and kids can easily topple a tree that has not been secured in a properly sized stand. Keep your tree in a lower traffic area of your home and keep dangerous ornaments high up on the tree. Avoid using real or artificial candy on your tree—the temptation to sample a piece is not worth an unfortunate outcome.

Holiday Lights

Everyone loves a beautifully decorated home. Just be safe in getting it done. Each year, more than half a million people get hurt by falling off of ladders. Ask for help and by all means, don’t climb a ladder with your arms full! Be safe and inspect lights before you hang them and plug them in. You’ll want to check for wires that are frayed, loose connections and broken bulbs and sockets. Take care not to damage gutters. Finally, make sure your lights are UL-certified.

Cords

No one wants to have unsightly cords get in the way of a good celebration. Yet all those extra cords you use during the holidays can present one of the greatest hazards. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) suggests the following cord safety tips:

  • Check that all electrical items, including extension cords, are certified by a nationally recognized independent testing lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • When using an extension cord, select a cord that is long enough to meet your needs. Don’t try to extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it with another extension cord.
  • Do not place power cords and extension cords in high traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture.
  • Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the item being used.
  • Do not run extension cords through walls or ceilings. This may cause the cord to overheat, creating a fire hazard.
  • Insert plugs fully so that no part of the prongs is exposed when the extension cord is in use.

For more information, go to the ESFI site.

Fire Safety

Everyone enjoys a cozy fireplace during holiday gatherings. However, make sure your fireplace is safe. You might want to consider glass doors for extra safety. Candles are responsible for tens of thousands of fire emergencies during the holidays. Never place candles close to the tree. Dry branches are a hazard—keep your tree away from sources that will expedite the drying process, such as fireplaces and radiators. Consider cutting a sliver from the bottom of your new tree’s trunk to let it absorb more moisture.

With some advanced planning and smart thinking, you can greatly increase your safety so that you can enjoy the 2015 holiday season with your family and friends. We wish you an enjoyable holiday season!

If you have sustained an injury and need an Ohio personal injury lawyer, please call the attorneys at NRS to discuss the facts of the injury. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience you need to get the results you deserve and are entitled to by law. Call us toll-free at 1.855.GOT.HURT (1.855.468.4878) or contact us by filling out our No-Risk Consultation Form.