Holiday Health and Safety

The holidays are a time to celebrate, reflect and spend time with family and friends. Many of the special events and traditions that take place during the holidays also make them a good time to pay special attention to your health and safety. Give yourself and those around you the gift of health by being aware of your surroundings and carefully preparing for your events.

Preventing Holiday Injuries

According to the Home Safety Council, each year, during the two months surrounding the holidays, more than 14,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday decorating.  Many of these injuries are due to falls from ladders, but residential fires are also a cause of holiday injury. You can prevent a great many of these injuries by taking some precautions:

  • Cut about two inches off the trunk of your tree and place it in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree doesn’t dry out.
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources; make sure your tree doesn’t block doorways or walkways.
  • Always use a step stool or ladder, instead of desks, chairs or other furniture, to put up decorations.
  • Climb facing the ladder, keeping three points of contact (two hands and one foot, two feet and one hand). Do not lean too far over to reach; instead, reposition the ladder closer to your work.

To learn more about preventing holiday-related injuries, visit the National Safety Council.

Children and Toys

Shopping for toys during the holidays can be exciting and fun, but it can also be frustrating. There may be thousands of toys to choose from in one store, and it’s important to choose toys that your children will enjoy and will not be harmed or injured by.

Make sure that the toys you choose are age and developmentally appropriate to suit the skills, abilities and interests of the child. Additionally, toys intended for older children may have small parts or other features that can cause choking or injury in small children. All toys should be well-made with tightly secured parts and pieces and no thin or brittle plastic that may break easily. Finally, read the labels on any toys that you consider; toy manufacturers are required to label toys that could be a hazard for younger children. Once the toys are at home, don’t allow children to play with them if they are broken or malfunctioning, and make sure that children use toys as directed on the packaging. Learn more about choosing the right toys for your children by clicking here.

Holiday Nutrition

During the holiday season, we tend to eat and drink more calories than we normally do. As you enjoy the holidays, remember to eat in moderation and stay physically active. The following tips can help:

  • Don’t skip meals before a holiday party; you may even want to eat a light snack before you go. When you attend an event on an empty stomach, you increase the chances of overeating.
  • Watch the food trimmings. Many of the excess calories we take in during the holidays are from the trimmings we add to our food, such as gravy, butter and whipped cream.
  • Beware the buffet. When faced with a buffet of scrumptious dishes, indulge in the foods served only during the holidays. Standing by the buffet is also a temptation to overeat—remember that holiday parties are a time to celebrate with family and friends, not just food.
  •  Stay physically active. Try to stick to regular exercise routine during the holidays; not only will it help you feel less guilty about a little indulging, but it will also help to relieve holiday stress! Create new family traditions, like taking a walk or playing a backyard game, as ways to increase physical activity.

Holiday Stress

Over-spending, over-commitment, family visits, travel concerns, excess workload….they can all leave you more stressed during the holidays than any other time of year. But the holidays should be a time to relax and enjoy your friends and family! Recognize the early warning signs of stress—headache, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, short temper, upset stomach, low morale—and stave off the anxiety by doing the following:

  • Make a list: prioritize what you need to do now and what can wait until the holidays are over.
  • Pace yourself: don’t work until the point of exhaustion.
  • Set limits: learn to say “no.”
  • Call on family and friends for help.
  • Keep active, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep.
  • Try to find time for yourself.

Following the tips above will keep you safe and healthy this holiday season, allowing you the time to really enjoy the holidays with your friends and family!