Check This List Twice: Holiday Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is an opportunity to spend extra time with loved ones, enjoy delicious food, and participate in all the fun activities that the holidays offer.

Because we know you want an enjoyable and stress-free holiday filled with laughter and joy, we’ve compiled some basic precaution tips to help you, your family, and friends stay safe throughout the holiday season.

Avoid Decorating Disasters

For many, decorating the house for the holidays is a tradition that gets the whole family involved. With everyone’s excitement over trimming the tree or stringing lights, it’s important to remember some safety tips, because we know no one’s holiday wish list includes a trip to the hospital.

OII member Nationwide (@Nationwide) provides the following tips for safe decorating:

  • Test electric lights and electrified decorations before putting them up. Check for worn, unsafe plugs, frayed cords, and unsafe connections.
  • Keep fragile ornaments on wire hangers at the top of the tree, out of reach of children.
  • If you have a fresh tree, be sure to water it daily. It only takes a couple of days for un-watered trees to dry into kindling.
  • Keep floor decorations corralled under the tree and not underfoot. That includes tree skirts, toy trains, decorative villages, and piles of presents.
  • Don’t use prickly roping on handrails, making it difficult for people to grasp the rails as they go up and down stairs.

For the complete list, read Nationwide’s full article, “Safety tips for the holidays.”

Extinguish Candle Dangers

Few things are as peaceful as a warm, cozy home and the smell of a sugar cookie, peppermint, or balsam-scented candle drifting through the rooms. But a candle is an open flame and fire safety should be front of mind.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that the top three days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve and in December, 11 percent of home candle fires began with decorations compared to four percent the rest of the year.

Check out tips from OII member, MAPFRE Insurance (@mapfreins) on how to enjoy your candles safely.

  • Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Be sure the wick ember is no longer glowing.
  • Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
  • Make sure all candles are out of reach of children and pets.
  • Trim candlewicks to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping.
  • Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans, and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame where they could catch fire.
  • Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or ½ inch if in a container.
  • Never extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break.

Get the complete list of tips from MAPFRE Insurance’s blog post, “Candle Burning Safety.”

Properly Prepare Treats

Weather cooking a holiday meal or bringing in an office treat for your co-workers, following food safety guidelines is important to help keep your home or workplace free from food-related illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food each year. To keep your gathering from being memorable in the wrong way, be sure you are taking the steps to protect your family and friends.

OII member American Family Insurance (@amfam) provides these tips to safely enjoy those treats:

  • Prepare With Care: Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces.
  • Watch the Temp: Always cook food to the proper temperature, and refrigerate items promptly.
  • Store Smart: Don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.

Read more tips from American Family Insurance; “Holiday Safety & Your Biz”

Additional Resources:
View these resources for more ways our members and partners educate others on the importance of safety around the holidays:

Central Insurance Companies (@Central_Ins): Holiday Safety Tips
GEICO (@GEICO): Preventing Holiday Hazards
Grinnell Mutual (@grinnellmutual): We Wish You a Fire-Free Holiday Season