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Preventing Holiday Injuries: Griswold Style


With the holidays officially in full swing, it can be easy to make foolish decisions in the name of merriment. Swiping that credit card a bit too much? Check. Overcommitting time? Currently Googling, “How to be in two places at once.” But in the midst of making less-than-stellar choices, are we also compromising our safety?


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), safety doesn’t commonly land at the top of anyone’s holiday to-do list. As a result, holiday-related injuries - and even deaths - occur that are entirely preventable. While a very serious topic, let’s take a lighthearted approach to what we need to know by imagining choices Clark W. Griswold might make.


Toys

“Not suitable for ages below three? Since when? What do they know??!?” – C.W. Griswold


Evidently, “they” know a lot. A report released by CPSC found there were more than 152,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries to children younger than 15 years of age, including two deaths in 2021. The fatalities involved choking on small parts and suffocating on a soft toy in an unsafe sleep environment. Further, button batteries that are used in most toys result in thousands of visits to the ER every year after children accidentally ingest them.


With holiday toys, age guidance and safety information should be followed closely. Safety gear should accompany gifts of scooters or riding toys and children should use them consistently. Small toys and parts should be kept away from children younger than age three and wrapping and packaging should be discarded promptly.


Cooking

“The turkey is frying…since he’s lit, I’ll go inside to get a beer and be back to join him.” – C.W. Griswold


While this is an extreme example, it is very easy to get distracted while cooking. Consider this your gentle reminder of the dangers of leaving pots and pans unattended on a hot stove, and a dramatic example of the dangers of hot oil. Additionally, never use fryers near your home – garages and porches are a no-no.


Cooking fires remain the leading cause of residential fires with turkey fryers creating particularly high risks. Since 2000, more than $9.5 million in property damage has been caused by turkey fryers alone.


Decorating

“Rusty, it’s time to share all I learned from your grandfather about exterior illumination. Don’t tell your mother…” – C.W. Griswold


Putting up festive decorations is a common tradition for many families. As the season goes on, many fail to keep those decorations in check. Live Christmas trees need water. Burning candles must be extinguished. Lights break and should be replaced, but electrical outlets must not be overloaded.


If you’re reading this away from the hustle and bustle of the season, these suggestions are “no-brainers.” But if you’re like the rest of us, the holidays put our good sense (and occasionally our good moods) to the test. Commit these simple steps to memory and you’ll be ready to celebrate in ways that won’t require anyone to pass you the Tylenol.


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