The Holidays are a time for joyous celebration, sharing among friends and family, and reflecting on everything you’re grateful for. At the same time, the Holiday season can lead to a surprising number of risks. Every years, hundreds of people tragically get seriously hurt or killed around the Holidays because of a number of critical mistakes or missteps.
For example, around 31% of all car accidents on Christmas involved a drunk driver, according to NHTSA data. The Holidays tend to be periods of heavy travel as well as heavy celebration, increasing the risk that someone well past the legal limit may put others in danger on the roads.
Similarly, there have been no fewer than 18 toy products recalled for safety reasons in 2018, including two products that head lead contamination issues.
On top of the risks of dangerous driving and dangerous gifts, individuals may create fire risks in their home while decorating, food safety risks while preparing Holiday feasts, and general risks by not making their home safe for guests. If you have been injured in any of these situations around the Holidays, remember that you can work with a Miami personal injury lawyer to explore your claim and seek the maximum possible compensation for your injury and other damages.
Exercise smart decisions making — and thorough due diligence — this Holiday season by taking the following 7 Holiday safety tips to heart.
The #1 risk to people on the Holiday comes from car accidents. An average of 231 fatal accidents occur around Christmas, and about 245 tend to occur on New Year’s Eve and Day. Drunk driving can be a factor in 30% to 40% or more of these accidents on any given year.
Holiday travel periods tend to be especially dangerous when the holiday’s date falls on a weekend.
Exercise caution while driving and be prepared for your Holiday road trip. Make sure that you are driving only when well-rested, hydrated, and nourished from a recent meal. Be willing to switch driving duties with someone else or pull over for a stop if you find your focus fading.
Above all else, don’t drink and drive this Holiday season. Designate a sober driver, or use some of Florida’s many transportation options to get around after drinking.
A real, live Christmas tree has beauty that cannot be overstated, but they can also pose a major fire hazard unless care is taken.
First, always situate your tree well away from heat sources and especially fires. Even fake trees can become a fire hazard around an open flame, so situate all decorations and trees at least 10-15 feet from active fireplaces or other heat sources.
Secondly, keep your tree well watered. A dry tree can turn into a blazing inferno in an instant. U.S. Fire Departments respond to an average of 170 home fires caused by Christmas trees every year.
Your tree may need more water than you expect, especially if your home has the heat cranking. Water it generously every day, and watch for signs of dehydration like dropped needles.
The top three days for candle-caused home fires inevitably fall on Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Consider using electric flameless candles any time you want a dramatic holiday decoration and flammable objects will be near.
If you do use a candle, place it upon a non-flammable surface at least two feet away from any hazards. Never leave an open flame unattended; blow it out before leaving the room or going to bed.
Installing decorations can mean serious injury risks unless safe, smart practices are followed.
For one, never install decorations that require a ladder or step stool alone. You should have someone helping stabilize you, and they can also be there to help you seek medical attention if something happens. Practice smart ladder safety, like climbing up one rung at a time. Don’t overburden yourself, and don’t extend too far away from the ladder.
Falls are a leading cause of death in all age groups, and serious home falls tend to increase during holiday periods.
In fact, try to avoid using an extension ladder altogether. You can replace it with a sturdy step stool or A-frame ladder in many situations. Definitely do not use improvised objects as ladders, such as furniture or air conditioning units.
Every year, an average of 160 home structure fires and 9 deaths are caused by Holiday lighting incidents.
With so many decorations and doodads, your electrical outlets might get pretty crowded around the Holiday times. Remember that while using a few multitaps or power strips might be ok, you can easily overload your home’s circuits and create a fire risk.
Don’t plug in too many things into one outlet, and definitely be wary of sharing outlets with appliances like refrigerators. Never plug an appliance into an extension cord or multitap.
Along with love and good cheer, some families can also spread foodborne illnesses and contagious diseases if they aren’t cautious with their food handling. Make sure to wash your hands often and clean all surfaces that have been contaminated by foods like raw poultry.
Keep food heated or refrigerated until you are ready to serve it. When in doubt, use a probe thermometer to help keep foods at their proper storage temperature.
Bacteria isn’t the only hazard in a kitchen, either. Hot stoves, sharp knives, and heavy foot traffic can all potentially lead to a serious injury. Keep young children out of the kitchen, and be proactive about removing hazards as soon as possible. For instance, wash any used knives immediately and put them away rather than leave them out.
Product recalls and unsafe product warnings are issued on a regular basis. For example, top product recalls from November 2018 include children’s clothes with components that contain lead.
Whether you get in a car accident, get hurt while shopping, or get injured while helping someone decorate their house, know that you may potentially give your injury claim a greater chance of success when working with a Miami personal injury attorney.
Your injury could be the result of negligence on the part of a business property owner, homeowner, or driver. If this is the case, your attorney can negotiate with insurers or pursue litigation in order to help you recover damages. These damages can include medical costs, related expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
Contact Steinger, Iscoe & Greene for a free case evaluation any time you are injured, and stay as safe as you can! After all, we want everyone to have genuinely Happy Holidays and a great New Year.