Sunday 13 November 2011

Stay Safe During Christmas

Photograph by Lisa Clarke.
Well, Christmas is almost here again! How the year has flown. Time to get the cards sent out, work out the gift list and the menu, put up the tree and decorate the house.

This time of great joy and celebration means having extra cooking and food preparation, entertaining family and friends, flaming brandy Christmas
puddings, no spare power points because of all the lights and tinsel decorations everywhere.

As much fun and as beautiful as it can all be, this time of year can also bring with it an increase in the risk of accidents, injuries, fires and burglaries. I thought I would share a few safety guidelines with you to make your Christmas season safer.


Entertaining
With a house full of visitors to look after it is easy to get distracted. One of the leading causes of house fires is unattended cooking. Try to keep an eye on what it is you have in the stove or the oven to avoid the risk of fire.

Let your visitors know what they need to do if there is a fire in the house and explain to them your exit points and where to meet up should a fire occur.


You may have little visitors whose behaviour patterns you are not familiar with, so please :

Put matches, lighters and other dangerous objects well out of reach


Store dangerous chemicals and cleaners out of reach or ensure that you have safety locks on the cupboards.


Put medications away in a locked cupboard or container well out of reach.


Remove medications from bedside tables if you are in the habit of keeping them there and secure them in a safe place


Put your handbag well out of reach if you keep things like cigarettes or medications in it


If you have a swimming pool, ensure that the gate is secured and if children are swimming, that they have adequate adult supervision


If you have guests who are smokers, designate an area outside of the house where they can smoke, making sure it is well away from non-smokers and children


Provide deep ashtrays or containers filled with sand that also has a lid with a slot for smokers to dispose of their cigarettes. Cigarette butts can be toxic to small children  


Gifts

If you are purchasing gifts for children make sure that they are age-appropriate and that they are not dangerous.

Read labels to make sure that they are not made from toxic plastics.


Check the toy for sharp points or edges, small parts that can be swallowed, strings or cords that could cause strangling if the child wraps it around their neck.


Be careful not to leave ribbons and scissors laying around after you have finished wrapping gifts to prevent a child from injuring themself.


Don't advertise to burglars what gifts you have purchased by leaving empty containers or packaging outside the house. Unfortunately Christmas time is an opportunistic time for thieves to rob houses and vehicles, so please be security conscious and don't leave items around that might entice someone to commit a crime.


Decorations


Photograph by Lisa Clarke
Some families have heirloom ornaments and decorations that get passed down through the generations.


Be aware that some of these may be painted with lead paint and should be kept out of the reach of small children.

Do not use indoor lights to decorate outdoors as that is not what they are designed for.

If you are buying an artificial tree check to make sure that it is fire resistant and also that it has a safe base so that it does not tip over easily.


Make sure you turn the lights off on the Christmas tree before you go to bed. They can short and catch fire and very quickly burn and cause severe damage or even loss of the house.
Check out this video to see just how quickly a Christmas tree can cause serious damage if it catches fire.



By observing a few simple safety precautions you can be sure to have a very safe and happy festive season.



Cheers and good health to you
Sonja

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