Holidays are rife with activities that create a perfect setting for accidents. While many people think of being on the road as the only danger during the holiday period, it is not always the case as dangers lurk everywhere.
Fortunately, identifying some of the possible hazards can help you stay safe during the holiday season.
Here are several unexpected dangers in the holiday season that you might want to pay attention to ensure that you and your family’s holiday spirit isn’t dampened by tragedy.
1. Car Accidents
Accidents are more prevalent during the holidays as more people are traveling to holiday destinations or visiting loved ones.
While the high volume of traffic is a major contributory factor to accidents during the holidays, there are several other reasons why it becomes more dangerous to drive during holidays, including:
- Drunk driving
Holidays and partying go hand in hand. Unfortunately, some party-goers get behind the wheel after having drinks, posing a danger to themselves and other road users. According to statistics, 40% of highway deaths are alcohol-related, so you may want to look out for drunk drivers.
Holidays are the only time when all family members can have a day off. To many families, it is the ideal time for traveling to see far-off family members and loved ones. When driving is the preferred mode of transportation, driving long distances can cause fatigue, leading to accidents.
If you live in the northern part of the USA, you have to contend with icy weather during some holidays, such as Christmas and new year celebrations. Driving on icy roads can be extremely dangerous, so you may want to be extra cautious. Bad weather is not limited to winter. Erratic summer rainfall can also create a serious road hazard.
Holiday seasons can be finance intensive which can result in stress. Stressed drivers on the road tend to be on edge and can get into a range quite fast. Road rage has become rampant in the last two to three years due to the effects of COVID-19 on many people’s lives.
2. Decoration Accidents
Some holidays go along with decorations or flag hoisting. While decoration may seem like a safe and fun activity, it creates an opportunity for accidents.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 14,800 people were treated in emergency rooms for decoration-related accidents in 2019. Most of the injuries resulted from falling from heights.
3. Toy Injuries
Most children look forward to holidays, especially the Christmas season, because it is usually associated with giving. Traditionally almost everyone walked to a store, identified a toy, and purchased it after establishing it is safe for use by kids.
Today, that rarely happens. Most people order all their gifts online. While ordering online could be more efficient and cheaper, you risk buying counterfeit toys that could pose a risk to your children, so you may want to be careful where you buy your stuff.
Holidays and eating go hand in hand. Where there is eating, there also is cooking. Cooking on open or any type of fire poses the risk of causing fires that could result in injuries. According to statistics, the possibility of accidental fires increases with holidays.
Some major causes of fire accidents during the holidays include putting flammable items near a fire, leaving a fire unattended, and using the wrong utensils for cooking, such as deep-frying.
Natural Christmas trees are also known to be very flammable. According to statistics, Christmas trees are responsible for over 400 homestead fires annually.
The best alternative for a natural Christmas tree is a fire-resistant artificial one. If you must use a natural tree, be sure to follow the National Fire Protection Association’s guidelines.
5. Holiday Heart Attack
It’s possible to have your mind focused on external hazards while the real danger lurks internally like a heart attack. Statistics show that heart attacks tend to increase significantly in the holiday seasons, with some studies showing December 25 as the deadliest day.
There are several reasons why holidays are the perfect environment for a heart attack, including stress, overeating, which is a known trigger, and forgetting to take meds. If you are managing any heart or blood condition, you may want to be extra careful during the holiday season to ensure that you stay safe.
6. Food Poisoning
According to the CDC, about 48 million people are treated for food poisoning yearly. Food is a core part of holiday celebrations, so the risk of food-related infections is quite high on holidays.
Some of the most dangerous foods in terms of food poisoning include meat and eggs.
According to health experts, preventing food poisoning involves observing hygiene in handling food. For example, ensure that you use different cutting boards for different foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Also, ensure you wash your working area with soap and water after use. When cooking meats, ensure that it is well cooked to ensure that no bacteria survive the cooking. Handling leftover foods also matters. If you intend to eat any leftover foods, ensure that you refrigerate them at most two hours after cooking.
7. Poisonous Holiday Plants
Holiday plants such as Christmas trees appear harmless but can create an excellent breeding ground for molds. They may not cause much harm when out in the open because air circulation is not limited, and the weather may not be conducive to the multiplication of molds. But indoors are different.
The temperatures are just right for microbial growth, meaning molds multiply quickly. Since air circulation is limited inside the house, it may only be a matter of time before the molds start taking their toll on home occupants.
If you are using a natural pine for your Christmas decorations, ensure that it only remains indoors for not more than three days. If you intend to keep Christmas decorations much longer, you should consider going artificial.
The dangers highlighted in this post are the most common. But there are others that you may want to be on the lookout for, such as crime, play accidents, overspending, debt, or gaining weight.
Besides being on the lookout for dangers, it is important to have measures for handling unexpected eventualities, such as having a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher around your home.