4 Common Dangers to Avoid for a Happy Houston Holiday

As the holiday season passes by in a whirl it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and stress. While it can be fun it can also lead to some dangerous situations that none of us want to face during holidays. To keep you and your family smiling and happy through the ups and downs of seasons greetings and festivities, here are a few very important tips for safety in Houston during the holidays.

Prevent Slips, Trips and Decorating Falls

Sure, it’s a common joke in our favorite holiday TV specials and movies, but accidental trips, slips, and falls from ladders are no laughing matter. Instead these accidents can lead to painful, sad, or even deadly holiday circumstances. So instead of risking life and limb to hang the lights and trim the tree, review these quick safety tips about using ladders. 

Ladders

  • If you feel tired or dizzy or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
  • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.
  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes.  Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip-resistant.
  • Before using a ladder, inspect it to confirm it is in good working condition. 
  • Ladders with loose or missing parts must be rejected. Rickety ladders that sway or lean to the side must be rejected.
  • The ladder you select must be the right size for the job.
  • The Duty Rating of the ladder must be greater than the total weight of the climber, tools, supplies, and other objects placed upon the ladder. The length of the ladder must be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step.
  • Be sure to place the ladder on secure ground, 1 foot away from the wall that will support it.
  • Always have someone hold the bottom of the ladder for added stability.

Ice and Snow

While Houston is not home to cold weather conditions (like a White Christmas) for the holidays  many of our friends travel to snowy climates for the holidays. If this is you we’d like to quickly remind you to be careful of ice while walking and driving. There is a special article in Angels Medical’s archives dedicated to helping our fellow Houstonians prepare for winter travel in colder climates called, “Helping Houstonians Face Cold Weather Vacations.” 

Preventing Tree and House Fires

Wether in Houston or in Alaska, there are plenty of  holiday traditions for all to enjoy and many of them include heating elements (you know… because of its cold) Fireplaces, candles, and other decorations. They are beautiful and heartwarming but open flames can bring dangers, even from the tiniest of flames. 

Fireplaces

  • possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning.
  • Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
  • Use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. 
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires
  • Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable 
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. 
  • If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.
  • Minimize your child’s chance of burns from the hot glass in front of some fireplaces. Safety screens can be installed to reduce the risk of burns.
  • Put fireplace tools and accessories out of a young child’s reach. Also, remove any lighters and matches.
  • Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.

Candles

While similar to fireplaces, these are often far more accessible for babies and children and should be given specific attention when it comes to placing candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over and out of reach of children. Also, make sure to keep matches and lighters up high or in a locked cabinet. One of the best ways to avoid the dangers of candles is to use flameless, rather than lighted, candles.

Flameless Heat

Radiators and other heat-producing elements can be just as destructive as an open flame so make sure that any fire potentials are kept away from radiators, portable heaters and any other forms of flameless heat. It is also a great idea to check any holiday lights for possible fire potentials. If using older lights is a family tradition, those lights may not have proper fire protection elements and should be replaced. 

Smoke detectors

Have a smoke and carbon monoxide detectors tested and working properly

Cooking

When preparing food with heat do not leave it unattended. When cooking in the kitchen, grilling in the back yard, or deep frying turkeys and other holiday novelties.

Dangerous Trees, Poinsetias, Mistletoe, and Holly 

Festive Favorites

Poinsettias are widely believed to be poisonous to children. The leaves can cause discomfort and indigestion when consumed, but that’s when eaten in large quantities but Mistletoe and Holly are far more toxic. These festive symbols should be placed up high where pets and children cannot reach them. Artificial versions of these seasonal mainstays would be much safer but should still be kept up and away from children as they often have choke-hazard elements.

Christmas Trees are a huge hazard when not taken care of.

Christmas Trees

Proper tree care is the very important and if a natural tree is wanted then please follow these care steps:

  • Place the tree as far from all heat sources as possible
  • Water the tree with clean water. DO NOT add anything to the water.
  • Check water daily.
  • Keep children and pets away from the tree water.

Decorations

Make sure all ornaments are shatter proof. Smaller items out of reach of children

Toys and gifts should be age appropriate to make sure children are safe from choking. Unrapping should be done safely. If it is to dificult to open with out scissors or a knife, scissors are a better option and should never be given to a child to use but given to an adult who can help the child unwrap the gift. 

Conclusion

Precautions against injury and illness around the holidays are easy to make and can be simple but life saving. If avoiding a trip to the ER or visiting us here at Angels Medical is your goal, taking steps to ensure you and your families safety and good health is a great way to start your holiday right.