Ahhh… the holidays. Sigh of despair, or a glimmer of excitement? From the change of seasons when Labor Day rolls around to the loud and festive ringing-in of a new day on New Year’s Eve, society whips into a frenzy to check everything off the never-ending to-do list. Picnics, parties and milestone celebrations are the norm, items fly off the shelves, and money is spent left and right, even in today’s economy. We’re on a quest to create memories for our families, our children and ourselves, and to carve out just a little bit of time for relaxation somewhere along the way.
But, amidst all the celebration, fun and frivolity, the holidays are also a time when injuries of all kinds occur for many reasons: unfamiliar layout in the home as furniture is shifted, stored and rearranged to accommodate holiday decorations and visitors from out of town; overflowing electrical outlets and power cords are tested to their limits with the promise to light up our homes inside and out; overuse of the stove and oven, used to create tasty culinary masterpieces that will be remembered in years to come; and then there’s fire in its many forms: outdoor barbecues and cozy fireplaces, carving and lighting the essential seasonal jack-o-lantern, and candles on the nicely-decorated table. It’s no surprise that the unfamiliar settings and elements in our homes at holiday time breed injury.
Whether it’s October or December, costumes are worn in school plays, trick-or-treating activities and fancy celebrations. Ill-fitting costumes with improper lengths can cause discomfort and falls. For adults, be sure scarves and hats are not too long, and that masks of any kind do not block vision. For kids, baggy sleeves can be found on just about all costumes. If long sleeves are a must on your child’s costume, be sure the costume is flame resistant. Although flame resistant doesn’t prevent the material from burning, it does provide a safety mechanism for added protection.
Aside from clothing, the holidays also mean shopping and gift giving. It’s a wise practice to check the Consumer Product and Safety Commission for recalls on holiday toys at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html. There’s nothing more embarrassing than giving a gift to someone you love that has been recalled due to safety issues. Check out the ratings first, and be especially aware of recalls in toys and baby furniture. Shopping in the big city… attending plays and holiday light parades and programs… visiting cities unknown. All these factors make it even more important to be cautious of holiday traffic. Watch for the person who is on a cell phone, both in the car and on the sidewalk. Keep little ones close by when they see bright lights and holiday celebrities so they don’t run out into the street.
Holidays and traditions are meant to be enjoyed and remembered, and in doing so it’s also important to be aware that unfamiliarity abounds in all areas during this festive season. Create those special times for your family, and remember your holiday for years to come by playing it safe today.