The holidays are now upon us, and many of us are excited to see family and once again gather together for Thanksgiving—especially after the past two years. But however your holiday is planned to go, know that there are a few additional hazards that come along with the day. Fortunately, most are preventable, but before you pull out the turkey and set the table, you’ll want to do a little pre-holiday prep work to ensure you are having the safest Thanksgiving possible. In this article, we dissect the top five Holiday Hazards and how you can avoid them this November.
The Hazard: Food Poisoning
Preventing cross-contamination and ensuring proper food temperatures is always important, but the Thanksgiving holiday brings about a number of challenges in this area, due to the fact that many families will be preparing many more dishes than usual. In addition, kitchen limitations and food transport (thanks to grandma for bringing her homemade casserole from across town!) means that there are more than the usual amount of opportunities for something to go awry.
The Fix: To start with, don’t take short cuts; make sure that you plan ahead to ensure that you have enough time to cook everything on your planned menu. When cooking, follow food temperature guidelines to guarantee that everything is cooked accordingly, and use clean serving and prep tools to reduce cross-contamination between dishes. And finally, if you’re transporting food, make sure you package it well—a tight seal will not only help it get safely to your destination, but will also minimize the chances of you picking up anything else along the way.
We know you can’t wait to sit down to Aunt Sue’s pumpkin pie or a plateful of turkey and sweet potatoes, but researchers at the University of Florida’s School of Medicine show that people are ten times as likely to choke during holidays or celebrations than any other time. And when it comes to kids, those many dishes could provide a larger chance of food impaction than more other days, as well.
The Fix: Slow down and take a seat, for one. When you are seated, you are more focused on the task of eating, and far less likely to eat too fast or take too big of bites than if you were up walking around. Also, nix the alcohol intake, which reduces your chewing efficacy and could be a precursor for a larger choking problem. And for little kids? Make sure you’re watching their plate, and that all food is sized to no larger than a half inch bite so that little mouths can swallow it with no problem. Still, the best prevention may be a general knowledge of basic first aid, so do a quick brush up—just in case.
With all the food prep going on at this time of year, kitchen injuries are inevitable, but there are still things you can do to ensure you keep cuts and burns to a minimum.
The Fix: First, make sure you are using the correct tools for your task; that your knives are sized appropriately for what you’re cutting, and that potholders and pot lids are easily accessible. Also, while it may seem counterintuitive, go ahead and sharpen those knives—a dull knife is actually far more dangerous than one that’s ready to do the job it’s intended for.
You might be surprised if you look at Thanksgiving fire facts, but the reality is that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home fires, with more than 1,630 occurring in 2018 alone, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Add to that the advent of turkey frying and your favorite pumpkin spiced candle, and you’ve got a lot of opportunity for a fire to take over your holiday.
The Fix: First of all, practice basic safety, and make sure you keep cords out of the way, lighters and matches put up, and a fire extinguisher handy. Beyond that, take special care in the kitchen—keep watch over what you’re cooking and don’t get distracted by family storytelling or Uncle David’s new sweater. And if you happen to be frying up your bird this year, make sure you’re set up at least 10 feet from the house on firm, flat ground, and make sure that your turkey is completely dry before you drop it in.
The Thanksgiving holiday marks one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, and also one of the most dangerous, as well. There are a number of reasons for this—from out of town drivers to increases in alcohol intake over dinner—but generally, there are just more people on the road, and more opportunity for something to happen.
The Fix: Although you can’t always prevent a road accident, you can take a few steps to makes sure you’re being as safe as possible. Outside of carrying drivers’ insurance (which is a must!), take a few hours to take your car into the mechanic—pre-travel—to have the oil changed, tires checked and make sure your vehicle is in good shape for the trip. Don’t overpack, and make sure your windows have complete visibility, and reduce as much distraction as possible.
Whatever your holiday plans include, make sure you’re completely covered for anything that could happen with great homeowners and drivers insurance. Penny Insurance has the experience and expertise to walk you through, every step of the way. Should you have any questions about coverage or insurance types, or if you would like to schedule a consultation or get a quote, please contact us and let us know.