It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Going to parties, giving gifts, having vacation days, spending time with family and friends: these are some of the things that bring joy to everyone. While you’re enjoying everything this season has to offer, remember to stay safe and be aware of the season’s potential hazards. Winter is beautiful, but it also brings increased opportunities for accidents. But fear not: a little common sense, preparation and, of course, your Kuna, will help make this holiday season problem free. Here are some seasonal home hazards that should be on your radar, and our suggestions to for staying one step ahead:
Before heading outside, always check the weather and expected temperature to minimize everyone’s outdoor exposure when it gets too cold. Remember: there is no real number as to what is “too cold”. Wind chill can create a “real feel” that is colder than outside temperatures, and rain, snow or sleet can create difficult conditions.Be especially mindful of young children and pets! They may be unable to express any discomfort they feel, so it’s up to you to help them stay warm and minimize their time outdoors, if necessary.
The cold season literally is the “cold” season. The drop in temperature brings a slew of sicknesses: the flu, bronchitis, sore throats and, of course, the common cold. Prevention is better than cure, so make sure you and your family wash your hands regularly, keep your surroundings clean, and minimizing your exposure to sick people in schools or the workplace. And don’t forget your vitamins! Harvard Medical School recommends taking vitamin supplements, and they have many other great tips for boosting you immunity.
Natural and man-made hazards with snow, sleet, rain, and clutter can cause avoidable slips and falls. Keep walkways clear, and wear shoes that give adequate traction. After decorating, ensure that there are no leftover decorations or their accessories lying around, such as wires, cords and ladders. Keep your home clean by making sure that new toys, and discarded boxes and wrapping paper, are properly put away when not in use. This is also the time of year for extra deliveries, so be sure to watch out for unexpected boxes on your porch.
Inspect your lights should be inspected for any busted bulbs which should be replaced. If you notice any fraying, busted bulbs, or other signs of wear, your lights need to be replaced. Use lights that are rated for their intended, use such as using only outdoor or all weather lights for outdoors. Check labels for ratings and safety compliance from the manufacturer. Turn off all decorative lights when leaving the house or going to bed.
Extension Cords should be the correct length. Do not put them on pathways: this turns them into trip hazards and makes them subject to additional wear. Always check the cord for signs of damage. Avoid linking extension cords together. Make sure that cords and decoration are out of reach of small children and pets that can be strangled or choked by them.
Christmas trees are a major source of fuel for fire according to the National Fire Protection Association. When selecting a tree, choose the greenest and freshest tree you can find, because the risk of fire increases as Christmas trees dry out. Make sure to check daily that your tree stand is filled with water. If you opt for an artificial tree, make sure it is made of flame-retardant material. And, perhaps most importantly: do not put your tree near your fireplace, hot lightbulbs, heater, or any open flame.
Minimize your use of lighted candles for decoration, and keep areas around fireplaces and candles clear. The National Fire Protection Association advises a minimum 3 foot safety zone between fire and any combustible object. Always extinguish all flames when leaving the area or going to sleep. Fireplaces in particular should be carefully managed or supervised. If you have an open fireplace, use a protective screen to prevent children and pets from getting too close. Before starting a fire, make sure your chimney is clean and your smoke detectors are working.
The holidays bring more people to your door: salespeople, carolers, delivery personnel, and possibly unpleasant people pretending to be any of the previous three. Knowing this, it’s important to exercise extra caution when dealing with strangers this time of year. Use your Kuna to see and talk to your visitors from wherever you are, all through your smart phone. You can give instructions to delivery personnel or tell salespeople you aren’t interested using the built-in speaker. There’s no need to open the door!
If you know other Holiday Hazards we should all watch out for, please share them in the comments below.
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