Tag Archives: holiday safety

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween doesn't have to be scary. Following some simple tips can help give parents—and everyone—peace of mind this trick or treat night.

  • Young children should not be carving pumpkins—they can use markers or paint, but no blades. Slightly older children should only use a knife under adult supervision.
  • Candle-lit pumpkins should not be left unattended, and care should be taken that leaves, bits of paper, or other flammable things don't blow in.
  • Instead of candles, consider lighting jack o'lanterns with electric lights or glow sticks.
  • All decorations should be secured so they don't pose a threat to trick-or-treaters or other visitors, block the door, or wander across the property line
  • Never use indoor lights outdoors.
  • Kids should be in light colors, if possible, or costumes with reflective tape. At the very least, they should be carrying something well-lit.
  • Costume props and other accessories should be soft, particularly if designed to look like blades
  • A costume with a cape or long dress is a potential tripping hazard, both for the wearer and for those near them.
  • Makeup is preferable to masks, to keep peripheral vision clear.
  • Test makeup on the skin beforehand, to look for potential allergic reactions. Makeup should be removed after coming home to avoid irritating the skin.
  • Trick-or-treaters should plan a route and stick to it, keeping to well-lit streets.
  • Group sizes should be small enough that it's possible for everyone to keep track of everyone else.
  • Young children should be supervised while trick-or-treating, and should never go into someone else's house without a chaperone—or uninvited, of course.
  • If there's a town curfew on Halloween, it should be obeyed.
  • Treats should be checked over and rationed, not torn through in a single night. Unwrapped food should be tossed.
    • These tips can help kids and adults stay safe Halloween night, and make the holiday fun.

Safe Fireworks

The Fourth of July is America’s birthday—and the busiest day of the year for firefighters. It’s also a busy day for hospital emergency rooms, which in 2012 treated almost 9,000 people for injuries from fireworks. Fireworks are also responsible for 40 percent of fires on Independence Day. Firework injuries are most common in tens and young adults, and then in children under ten. Here are some tips for safe fireworks fun:

  • Professional-grade fireworks are generally wrapped in brown paper. They can be dangerous without proper training.
  • Keep fireworks away from dry grass.
  • Young children should never ignite or play with fireworks, and teenagers should only use them under close adult supervision.
  • People who are drunk or otherwise impaired should not light fireworks.
  • Fireworks should not be used without water—a garden hose, or at least a bucket—nearby. A first-aid kit should also be available.
  • Body parts should be kept out of the way during lighting.
  • Duds should not be re-lit, and should be doused with water before being picked up or handled.
  • Unexploded fireworks should not be left behind. They should also be doused with water before being discarded.

Following these tips will help avoid serious injury. If injury does occur, immediate medical care can help minimize permanent damage, but it is important that it is immediate—not after the party is over. People who are injured should seek medical attention even if they were misusing fireworks or the fireworks themselves were illegal. That’s not as important as getting people the care they need.

Healthy Holidays To You

Holiday season can be as difficult as it is fun. Studies show that stress levels peak around this time of year. Here are some tips for a healthy holiday season:

  • Take the time to rest and recharge, and be sure to get enough sleep.
  • If you’re traveling across time zones, keeping hydrated—meaning avoiding alcohol or caffeine—can help minimize jet lag. Sleep and eat on destination time the day before you leave if you can.
  • Try to stay with healthy snacks, especially on non-holiday holiday days such as the weekend after Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Stand on a step-stool to hang decorations or get things down from high places, or have someone tall do it. Standing on furniture not made to support standing isn’t safe.
  • At holiday celebrations, try to eat healthy, but don’t feel you need to stick to a strict diet when people around you are indulging. The average person gains only a pound between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.
  • If you have diabetes, check your glucose at least once during holiday meals.
  • People who have recently quit smoking or drinking, or who have just embarked on the road to recovery from substance abuse, should be given plenty of opportunities to step away from the busiest parts of celebrations and relax—and should not be nagged about relapsing.
  • If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel, all the more so when you’ll be driving on dark or icy roads.

The good news is that holiday time can actually make you healthier. The time with your family and friends, and the holiday cheer, is good for you. So bask in the glow and have a happy holiday season.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a night for fun, but for too many families, it can be a night of tragedy. While some of the traditional stories are exaggerated or false—no one has legitimately found a razor blade in an apple, for example—there are some scary facts about Halloween and kids, and not in the fun way. Twice as many children are hit by cars on Halloween than on any other night, mostly because more children are on the streets. Here are some safety tips for trick or treating:

  • Young children should be supervised as they make their rounds. Trick-or-treaters should be in groups whether there are adults with them or not; it’s not only safer, it’s more fun.
  • If you’re wearing a costume while serving as the adult, make sure it’s very visible and recognizable—homemade is better than store-bought to help keep the kids you’re supervising from wandering off with the wrong person.
  • If you’re not accompanying your kids—because they’re with a trusted neighbor or because they’re old enough to go in a group of kids—know their route, know when you can expect them back, and make sure cell phones are charged.
  • If you check in with your kids by phone, call rather than texting. They won’t be tempted to walk while texting when they respond, and you’ll be able to hear what’s going on around them.
  • Avoid dark or black costumes for kids, or put reflective tape on the costumes and bags. Costumes with lighted accessories are also good. Even the Grim Reaper can carry a reflective or light-up scythe.
  • Costumes shouldn’t impede movement, nor should they drag.
  • Masks can block peripheral vision and make even seeing straight ahead difficult. Non-toxic face paint is a better choice.
  • Turn your light out if your children are home alone. Halloween is no exception to the rule about kids opening the door to strangers.
  • Children should not carve pumpkins without an adult to watch them.
  • Don’t leave knives or lit candles around toddlers.

Don’t let the specter of danger haunt your Halloween. Using safety tricks can help make the night a treat.

Declare Independence From Injury This Holiday

As we celebrate the Fourth of July tomorrow, it’s important not to forget fireworks safety. Fireworks help make the holiday fun, but they can be dangerous—an estimated 60 percent of injuries from fireworks happen around Independence Day. In 2011, nearly 10,000 people went to the hospital for fireworks-related injuries. Forty-one percent of those injuries affect the hands and fingers, and nearly a third are to the head and face. Here are some tips to stay safe while having fun:

  • You’re never too young to enjoy fireworks, but kids are too young to use them. Even sparklers can be dangerous—they burn at more than 1,800 degrees.
  • Legal fireworks are more likely to have predictable effects and to be manufactured with safety in mind.
  • Don’t make your own fireworks even if you’re sure you know what you’re doing, unless you have professional-level training in pyrotechnics.
  • Don’t carry or light fireworks in a glass container, which might create shrapnel.
  • If you carry fireworks in your pocket, the friction might set them off.
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Don’t light fireworks while holding them in your hand, or when any part of your body is directly over them.
  • Be sure there’s water nearby, ideally something like a garden hose, and be ready to use it if something goes wrong.
  • Set off fireworks one at a time, then quickly move back.
  • Keep fireworks away from flammable objects such as leaves, your house, and the dog. The rockets’ red glare leads to over 50,000 fires a year.
  • Do not point or throw fireworks and anyone you do not want to severely injure.
  • Put plenty of water on spent fireworks before throwing them away. Do not attempt to reuse spent fireworks.
  • Don’t relight duds, and douse them with water before picking them up.

Fireworks injuries should be treated at the hospital immediately. It may in some cases be possible to reattach things that need reattachment, but the longer the delay, the less likely this is to be possible or successful. do not put ice on a burn, but do run cold water over it. Do not rub an injured eye, which may make the damage worse, and don’t flush it with water at all. Have a safe summer.

Holiday Health Tips

The holiday season is coming, starting with Thanksgiving on Thursday. The good news is that holiday time and holiday celebration are actually beneficial to your health. Good cheer and being with family provide a boost. The bad news is that stress peaks around holiday time as well. Here are some tips to help you through:

  • Take time out for yourself, to rest and recharge.
  • Get enough sleep. It’s an important part of both keeping your health and str‌ess management.
  • If you’re traveling for the holidays—or any other time—melatonin can help you adjust to time differences to avoid jet lag.
  • Use a dedicated step-stool rather than furniture to stand on when hanging decorations; it’s safer.
  • It’s always important not to drive drunk, but it’s particularly dangerous on icy roads or when snow reduces visibility.
  • Wash up. Washing your hands regularly helps you avoid the colds, flu, and similar ailments that are going around this time of year.
  • Try to eat healthy during the holidays, but recognize that celebrations and feasts are not the time to stick strictly to a weight-loss plan.
  • Don’t worry too much about watching your weight; the average person gains only a pound between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.
  • If you have diabetes, check your glucose at least once during holiday meals.
  • If you’re prone to heartburn or acid reflux, be careful with alcohol, caffeine (including chocolate), carbonation, and mint. Caffeine and alcohol can also make intestinal bowel problems flare up.
  • When you can, pick nutrient-rich foods and snacks such as nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables.

If you follow these tips, it will help you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

Sunburn Safety and Salve

Summertime is a time for fun in the sun, but sunburn can mean the fun stops. Sunburn is painful because it is a sign of damage to your skin. It happens when ultraviolet light from the sun—or a tanning bed or other artificial source—burns and destroys skin tissue cells.

The best approach is to avoid sunburn in the first place. The most effective way to do this is, obviously, to stay indoors and not be exposed to sunlight, but you miss out on a lot of summer activities that way. Most people don’t need to go that far, however. What you do need to do is stay in the shade when you can, perhaps carrying a parasol if you’re particularly prone to burning.

When this isn’t feasible—for example, when being in the sun is the whole point, such as at the beach—use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. If you’re especially fair-skinned or have a family history of skin cancer, you should use something stronger. Water resistant is best even if you’re not swimming; you may get splashed or perspire it off otherwise.

Apply sunscreen to all skin that is likely to be exposed at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply it every two hours. Most people need about an ounce of sunscreen (a shot-glass full) for complete coverage, more if you’re particularly tall, particularly large, or particularly exposed.

If you do get burned, the damage is already done; all you can really do at that point is deal with the discomfort. The most important things to remember for that are cool, moist, and gentle: Take a cold bath, or apply towels soaked in cool water to the affected areas. Apply moisturizing lotion liberally, but be sure to avoid products with alcohol or benzocaine. Alcohol will only dry the skin out further—and not just when you apply it topically, but also when you drink it—while benzocaine has been linked to a possibly fatal condition. continue with moisturizer once the skin has begun to peel, and be gentle with the area. Peeling is normal; it gets rid of already damaged skin.

Don’t peel or pop blisters. This slows down healing, and popped blisters are prone to infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin can also help. See a doctor if you have symptoms of sun poisoning, such as dizziness, nausea, rapid heartrate, dehydration, light sensitivity or severe blisters, or if sunburn signs are accompanied by fever or last longer than a few days.

Fireworks Safety

Though we’re sure you don’t need it, here are some tips to have a safe Fourth of July fireworks event:

  • Never launch fireworks from indoors.
  • Wear safety glasses, and launch away from people
  • Always launch sober. If you’re too drunk to drive, you can’t safely launch fireworks.
  • Do not use illegally bought fireworks. Buying fireworks only from licensed retailers helps you be more sure of their quality and safety.
  • Altering fireworks is likely to make them less safe.
  • Don’t combine fireworks. The launch may not scale and the explosion may be bigger than you expect.
  • Be sure there’s water around, either a hose attached to a faucet or a bucket.
  • If a firework doesn’t go off, don’t try again. If it’s been inert for 20 minutes, soak it in water.
  • Similarly, before throwing away spent fireworks, soak them.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket, they could light from the friction.
  • Sparklers can get hot enough to melt gold. Children should not play with sparklers.
  • Keep pets indoors so they don’t panic and injure themselves.

If you or your child is injured, seek medical attention immediately. It is important that someone with eye injuries not rub his or her eyes; it can make the injuries worse, as can flushing the eye with water. If someone is burned, remove clothing from the affected area and run cool water—though not ice water—over it.

These tips will help you have a glorious Fourth celebrating America’s birthday.