Submitted By Jody Van Cooney
Making the year 2020 end on a happy note can be easy if the following safety tips, offered by the Injury Prevention Coalition of Lee County, are followed.
Traveling. If you are planning a trip by car, make sure it’s ready for the trip. If you’re heading up north, prepare the car for winter weather. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years have the highest fatality rates of any major form of transportation during holidays. Make sure everyone in the car is buckled up; put the cell phone away; practice defensive driving; and get a good night’s sleep so you’re not driving drowsy.
The Christmas Tree. If purchasing a live tree, make sure it’s watered daily; when the needles become dry, it’s time to remove it! If purchasing an artificial tree, check to see that it’s labeled “fire resistant.”
Decorating the Tree. Get in the holiday mood by decorating the house—inside and outside; yes, in Florida, we decorate those gorgeous palm trees. Use lights labeled for indoors inside and lights labeled for outdoors outside Check for frayed wires or loose connections. Never use more than three sets of lights on a single extension cord. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. Remember to turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
Candles. Candles are a wonderful way to create a specific atmosphere—but they can be dangerous. Do not place them next to flammable items, for example—curtains, furniture, or decorations. Place them where they can’t be knocked down or blown over and out of reach of children. Do not leave them unattended.
Kitchen Safety. Keep your holidays happy by handling food safely. Wash your hands frequently and keep raw meat away from fresh produce. Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature. Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of being served. Keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop or in the sink.
Toy Safety. Gifts and toys should inspire joy, not cause injuries. Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard. Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points. Be a label reader; look for labels that give age and safety recommendations. Check instructions for clarity; they should be clear to you and appropriate or the child. Discard plastic wrappings before they become deadly playthings.
Bikes and Trikes. If purchasing a bicycle, scooter, in-line skates, or skateboards, purchase the safety equipment that goes with it—for example, a properly fitted bicycle helmet, kneepads, and bicycle reflectors. Don’t buy items for the child to grow into.
The Injury Prevention Coalition’s members want you to have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. 2020 has been a difficult year and everyone is anxious to get back to normal. When families and friends gather together, remember to practice social distancing, washing hands, wearing face masks, and small groups.
ABOUT THE LEE COUNTY INJURY PREVENTION COALITION
The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition serves as a collaborative effort or partnership whose function is to facilitate partners’ work and act as a catalyst for injury prevention initiatives. Its mission is to prevent injury, disability, and death through advocacy, education, legislation, and partnerships.