Blog Christmas Holiday Safety Tips For 2020

Dec 15, 2020

The Ultimate Guide For A Safe And Festive Holiday Season

The holiday season is a busy time. As you wrap things up at work, decorate your home, navigate snowy roads (use these winter driving tips), and shop for the perfect gifts, it is essential to take safety into consideration.

According to emergency physicians, some of the most common accidents this time of year include broken or fractured bones, falling off ladders or roofs, and car accidents (especially parking lot accidents). These are some the leading causes of emergency room visits over the holidays.

To ensure you have a happy and safe season, we have put together a collection of winter holiday safety tips.

Top Home Christmas Safety Tips For The Holidays

Candles with mother and daughter by christmas tree

The holiday season is a time for celebration with friends and family. This means more food, decorations, hosting, and a need to be extra cautious around the house. Use these safety tips for your home for a safe and enjoyable holiday season :

  • Check your safety alarms : Check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
  • Keep your driveway and walkways clear : When it snows, clear your driveway and walkways of snow and ice. Your guests and delivery people will appreciate it!
  • Use the fireplace with care : Whether you have a natural or gas fireplace, it is a source of heat and potential danger. Keep kids and pets away, be careful when placing decorations, and always make sure the fire is out before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Use candles safely : Place them in low traffic areas and away from flammable materials. More than one-fifth (22%) of Christmas tree fires start because of a heat source, such as a candle or equipment being too close.
  • Holiday plants and pets do not mix : Make sure you keep your pets away from poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and real Christmas trees as they can be toxic for pets.
  • Reduce the Christmas clutter : Gifts, guests, decorations, and winter clothes can create hazards. Try to reduce the clutter before the holiday season or confine it to a specific area of your home.
  • Be diligent with home security : Unfortunately, the holiday season sees an increase in break-ins and theft. Therefore, it is important to always lock your doors, keep the garage closed, lock windows, and make a note of strangers in your neighbourhood.

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Christmas tree beside a fire with stockings hung

Decorating and hosting are fun but can pose risks. On average, there are about 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season; about half of the incidents involve falls. During the 2018 holiday season, about 17,500 people were treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries.

As you are decorating your home for the holidays, keep an eye out for common holiday hazards and safety slip-ups. Use these tips :

  • Put safety first : We know you want your decorations to look great. But do not sacrifice safety to do it. Ensure that all decorations are properly secured to your home and are not at risk of falling. Check local recalls and safety alerts.
  • Choose a safe artificial tree : Choose a tree that is fire resistant; you will see a fire-resistant label when buying. When setting it up, make sure the base is sturdy to avoid tipping or falling over.
  • Keep live trees watered : Make sure you choose a fresh live tree. Keep it watered to ensure it remains green, fresh, and does not become a fire hazard.
  • Use the right lights : Make sure all lights you plan to use outside are certified for outdoor usage.
  • Inspect all light strands before using : Carefully inspect all light strands for damage, loose sockets, fraying, and broken lights. Only use CSA approved lights.
  • Do not overuse extension cords : Never connect more than one extension cord. Make sure you don't overextend electrical outlets, or they could short out.
  • Choose decorations wisely : Avoid using decorations that look like food or toys if you have young children or pets.
  • Use a helper for decorating : Always have someone spot you when using a ladder, lifting heavy boxes, and when hanging lights.
  • Place decorations carefully : Keep sharp and potentially dangerous decorations and ornaments out of the kids' and pets' reach. Look for shatterproof ornaments as an added precaution in case they fall off the tree. Also keep decorations away from heat sources.
  • Turn off holiday lights when leaving : Turn off your outside and indoor holiday lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Blow out candles : Always blow out candles when you leave the house or the room – candles should always be burning in sight and away from flammable items.

Holiday Hosting Safety Tips

Are you hosting guests over the holidays? Use these safety tips for a safe and fun evening :

  • Avoid unattended cooking : It can be challenging to balance preparing a meal, being a host, and entertaining. Make sure there is always someone able to help in the kitchen.
  • Safe food handling and preparation : In the rush to prepare food, it can be easy to forget or overlook important food handling guidelines. Do not skip food prep steps and raw meat practices.
  • Watch out for fire hazards : There are plenty of fire hazards to watch out for. Make sure you have a screen on your fireplace, avoid placing candles in high traffic areas and make sure people properly dispose of cigarettes.
  • Keep an extra eye on kids and pets : With so much going on, it is important to know who is supervising the kids and keeping an eye on pets. You never know what they could get into.
  • Drink responsibly : Offer guests the option to stay over, have a designated driver to take people home at the end of the night and ensure no one is driving after they have been drinking.

Holiday Safety And COVID-19

Mother and daughter looking in christmas decorated store window

The safest way to enjoy the holidays is with members of your immediate household. Before you attend any holiday events, consider your personal risk level and those around you. If an event puts you at an increased risk of being exposed, consider avoiding it.

Here is how to reduce your risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holidays :

  • Follow the advice from the local public authority : Always check the public health authority of the location you are travelling to, so you can prepare for cancellations and size limits.
  • Consider the risks : Any plans to hold an event or meet with others during the pandemic should be given strong consideration.
  • Know when to stay home : If you have been diagnoses with COVD19, have been in contact with someone who has it (or suspected), feel unwell, or have recently travelled, you should stay home.
  • Safety precautions : You should only be attending gatherings if the public health authority allows it the people are outside your immediate living space.
  • Travelling over the holidays : Avoid non-essential travel outside and inside Canada until further notice.

If you are attending a small gathering or event, remember to check with local regulations, stay home if you feel unwell, maintain two metres of distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or sanitizer.

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

The holiday shopping season is hectic. With so many people in the stores and potential distractions, it is important to be safe when shopping. Here is what you can do to stay safe while shopping :

  • Stay alert : Be conscious of what is happening around you – beware of strangers approaching you or creating distractions.
  • Shop in familiar places : Shop at stores and locations you frequent.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain sight : Avoid leaving your wallet or gifts in plain sight in your vehicle - put them in the trunk or cover them up.
  • Park in well-lit areas : Parking in well-lit and busy areas will deter thieves from approaching your vehicle.
  • Shop with friends : This will make you less of a target for thieves. Try to shop during the day when possible.
  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself : Leave the expensive jewelry, electronics, and other items at home while shopping.
  • Do not leave your wallet unattended : Keep your keys, wallet, cash and cards close.
  • Give safe gifts to children : Toys are age rated for safety – be mindful of what age you are buying for. If you are gifting a scooter or other riding toys, include the appropriate safety gear.

Holiday Online Shopping Safety Tips

Woman shopping on laptop with presents around her

Online shopping is on the rise over the holidays. Studies show that around 43% of consumer fraud victims said the theft happened during online shopping. Here are eight tips to keep you safe while shopping online :

  • Do not save credit card information on sites : Although it is convenient, avoid saving your payment information to online accounts. Not all retailers are equipped to protect your information. Consider using a digital wallet to increase transaction security.
  • Ship to secure location : When possible, arrange to have your packages delivered when you are home. Some delivery services offer pick-up options at post offices or shipping lockers for secure pick-up.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi : Be mindful if you are doing any shopping from a public connection – these are used on public airwaves and are easily accessible for hackers to intercept data.
  • Use strong passwords : Use a complex combination of lowercase, uppercase, letters, symbols, and numbers. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and do not use personal information such as your birthday.
  • Protect your SIN : No retailers should ask for your SIN. If you are being asked to disclose this information, call the customer service line, and let them know. Better yet, close the tab and find a reliable source.
  • Watch out for scam emails : Clicking on emails from unknown or unrecognizable sellers can infect your computer with viruses and emails. Delete these emails immediately, and do not open any attachments or click any links.
  • Check security policies : Look for the small lock icon in the corner of your URL to confirm the page you are on as privacy protection installed. The URL will also start with an "HTTPS" – if you do not see the "S" after, the webpage is not secure.
  • Keep an eye on accounts and bank statements : Check your accounts often to ensure no mysterious or fraudulent charges. Let your bank know immediately if you see anything suspicious.

Stay Safe This Holiday

Being mindful and keeping these tips in the back of your mind will help keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from everyone at ThinkInsure, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

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