From decorating for the holidays and visiting family to preparing feasts and enjoying activities in the snow, this time of year provides seemingly unending choices for fun, family, and fellowship. But unfortunately, the busyness and merriment of this time of year also mean the potential for increased injury from various sources.

Avoid injury during the holidays

Let’s take a look at 5 main areas injuries often take place during the holidays, as well as tips for keeping the season safe and joy-filled.

  1. Toys – Safety in play during the holidays begins with making sure toys are appropriate for a child’s age and ability and providing proper supervision. Start by checking age ranges on toys before purchasing. With younger kids, also be aware of the packaging for toys, making sure potential eye hazards are removed. Special care also needs to be taken with flying and projectile toys, including chemistry sets, airsoft, and BB guns and rockets. Supervise older kids using projectile toys, and ensure they follow directions and wear goggles when operating them. Also, remember to keep younger children and other spectators at a safe distance.

For more information on keeping kids safe during sports and play, check out these helpful articles: Airsoft Safety, Part 1 and Part 2, and The Top 5 Most Unlikely Holiday Safety Risks.

  1. Decorations – Most homes are filled with festive decorations this time of year. Ensure that breakable ornaments are out of the reach of young children and make certain branches on Christmas trees aren’t sticking out at a child’s eye level. Other decorations posing potential injury threats include fireplaces, candles, and electrical cords. Use common sense with these, ensuring they won’t cause someone to trip and are safely avoidable. Another potential hazardous decoration is spray snow because the chemicals can easily harm the eyes. Again, use caution when applying to make sure to wear safety goggles when doing so.
  1. Food – For some, holiday food is the best part of the holiday season. And other than the extra calories, many don’t consider the potential safety hazard accompanying all that extra food. First, be aware of the safe handling and cooking processes needed for the food you prepare. From food allergies to food poisoning, awareness of the potential health hazards can help ensure everyone enjoys the festivities. Food safety also ensures that the kitchen is always supervised and smoke alarms are in working order. Finally, keep children from hot surfaces, and encourage everyone to wash hands frequently.
  1. Snow – If you live in or are traveling to an area with the potential for a white Christmas, you’re probably looking forward to sledding and snowball fights and possibly snowmobiling, skiing, or snowboarding. If your holiday plans include these or other outdoor snow-related activities, ensure everyone’s gear includes sunglasses or goggles to protect the eyes from impact and the sun. Also, remember that the possibility of sunburn still exists in cold weather and that its potential significantly increases with altitude.

Check out these great articles related to safety in the snow: Links to articles on Cold Weather Safety and Great Goggles Make Snowmobiling Even More Enjoyable.

  1. Travel – Most people travel at least some over the holidays, with many traveling significant distances. Remember that weather makes road conditions vary significantly from one location to the next and at different times of the day. Plus, there are the vision challenges often accompanying long drives. Vision can become blurry from fatigue, sunlight reflecting off snow makes seeing anything difficult, and general fatigue can wreak havoc on anyone’s alertness. Tips for safe holiday travel include wearing the proper eyewear for the time of day, including always sunglasses during the day. Other options for reducing the chance of accidents caused by fatigue include frequently resting, keeping the car cool, and sharing the driving. And tips on travel safety during the holidays would be incomplete without encouraging that a designated driver be chosen before indulging in any holiday drinking.

For more on the challenges of night driving, check out Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1 and Part 2.

Following the simple tips above can help ensure this holiday season stays the most wonderful time of year.