As extracted from the Spectrum News – Physical Safety In The Holiday Season In America is something not only Americans but everyone all around the world should pay attention to in festive seasons. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Christmas decorations, unattended candles and trees can increase the risk of in-home fires. Between 2016 – 2018, the agency estimated there were around 100 Christmas tree-related fires and 1,100 candle fires in November and December of each year, leading to upwards of $56 million in property damage each season.
To prevent Christmas tree-related fires, the CPSC encourages Americans to ensure live trees always have enough water, and to try to purchase “fire resistant” artificial trees.
The Firefighters Association of the State of New York also recommends individuals test their holiday lights each year and throw out any broken bulbs, and to ensure any outdoor lights are plugged into a “ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle” to avoid electrical fires.
Still, cooking remains the top cause of all residential fires, with one in every five home fire deaths year-round attributed to some form of the activity, per the National Fire Protection Association – though the highest spike for cooking fires typically occurs on Thanksgiving Day.
But for those still planning on making turkey for Christmas, it’s important to handle raw poultry properly to avoid spreading bacteria that can send guests home with an unwanted side of food poisoning.
Thaw safely. A frozen turkey needs about 24 hours to thaw for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight, according to the Agriculture Department. In a pinch, it can be thawed in a cold water bath or even a microwave, but it must be cooked immediately if you use those methods. And don’t wash the turkey. It’s a bad idea to rinse it in the sink, a practice that can spread potentially dangerous germs like salmonella to nearby areas; instead, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and plop it in the roasting pan.
Also ensure the turkey is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees to avoid food poisoning.
A recent CPSC report published in November also found that toy-related injuries remain high during the holiday season. Last year alone, the agency recorded 152,000 “toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries to children younger than 15 years of age,” two of which led to death.
The most common injuries were lacerations or abrasions to a child’s face or head; the two fatalities were caused by choking on a small toe and suffocating on a small toy in “an unsafe sleep environment,” per the CPSC.
“Protecting children from hazardous toys and other products is core to CPSC’s mission,” CPSC chair Alex Hoehn-Saric wrote in a statement. “We are committed to doing our part to ensure, through vigorous inspections and enforcement, that hazardous products don’t make it to store shelves or consumers’ homes; but we also want to arm families with important safety information so they can shop safely for toys and gifts and avoid trips to the emergency department during the holidays.”
The CPSC recommends parents always ensure their children are wearing proper protective gear when riding on bikes, scooters and other mobile toys; to keep small parts and toys away from children younger than three years old and to immediately discard all packaging after unwrapping gifts.