Ah, the holidays — the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, they can be one of the most dangerous times of the year, too. Holiday accidents can put a damper on a season meant to bring us joy and togetherness. Shopping, get-togethers, travel, decorating, holiday retail and many other factors can put you in unexpected danger if you don’t take care.
Fortunately, if you take the proper precautions, you can reduce your risk of getting an injury. Read on for safety tips for the holiday season.
Safe Holiday Shopping Tips
Once Black Friday hits, stores everywhere have an increased number of customers until the end of the holidays. Christmas shopping can be very hectic and stressful, whether you buy your presents early or late in the season. Even folks who don’t celebrate Christmas need to buy decorations and food for the holidays they celebrate, not to mention everyday groceries and supplies. To reduce your chance of accidents or injuries while holiday shopping, your best bet is to stay calm and pay attention.
Malls and big stores have more risks than you might think. Having more shoppers in the aisles means a higher risk of cart accidents, slips and falls. When parking lots have more vehicles, you must take extra care to avoid harm to yourself or your car. However, the increased stress and pressure from these crowds can make it harder to avoid their dangers.
So, to ensure a safe shopping trip, you should eliminate as many stressors as possible. For an easier time at the store, consider the following holiday shopping safety tips:
- Avoid shopping on high-traffic days like Black Friday or the day before Christmas. The same goes for busy times of day like rush hour.
- Plan carefully before you leave. Having a list of what you want to buy can help you get in and out quickly.
- Leave children at home or daycare, if possible. Not only does doing this eliminate distractions, but it also keeps your children safer.
Keep Your Children Safe, Happy and Healthy
While adults understand basic safety practices, children are still learning. Sometimes they put themselves in danger without knowing it. When you go to a busy event or store, you can have a harder time keeping track of your little ones. Plus, your kids feel the extra stress, too, making them more likely to do risky activities.
Consider the following ideas to keep you and your children happy and safe:
- Make sure you’ve met all your child’s needs before going on an excursion. Proper rest and food can make holiday activities more pleasant for both of you!
- Keep an eye on your child at all times when you’re out in public. Bringing along another adult can make it easier for you to celebrate and ensure their safety at the same time.
- When you go shopping, practice cart safety, and do not let your child steer the cart.
- If you plan to be indoors for an extended period, take off your child’s coat. Feeling overheated can make them feel restless.
Safeguard Against Theft and Assault
Going out for more shopping trips and events can open you up to crime if you do not practice personal safety. Even if you live in a more remote area, you still have a chance of becoming a victim. Like any other accident, you cannot completely avoid crime, but you can take precautions. Protecting yourself can help you prevent theft and assault-related injuries.
By keeping track of your money and belongings, you can avoid pickpockets and purse theft. Never leave your wallet, purse or purchases unattended at large parties or shopping centers. When you carry your wallet or purse, keep it somewhere secure where people can’t grab them without your knowledge. Make sure you can see it at all times, and carry it close to your body.
While you may think you have a higher chance of theft or assault in large crowds, you should take even more care when you’re somewhere more isolated. If you need to use the bathroom when out in public, try to use facilities located near more crowded areas. When you go shopping or to a party alone, ask a security guard or someone you trust to accompany you to your car.
During the holiday season, many folks must travel more. They may have to run more errands, or go visit far-off family members. Regardless of the reason you conduct holiday travel, you can take extra measures to avoid accidents.
If you need to drive somewhere, try to take the roads at the most optimal times possible. In December, it gets dark early, so leave before dark whenever you can. Avoid driving in inclement weather, and reschedule your trip for when the roads are clear.
Just like shopping, you should make driving as stress-free as possible so you can focus on staying safe. Give yourself plenty of extra time so you do not have to worry about arriving late. Even if you have a GPS to guide the way, keep paper directions on hand in case of emergency. Take a break when you have to go to the bathroom or get hungry or tired.
Travelers taking buses, trains and planes can also follow some tips to ensure a safe journey. When you book a trip, take note of any alternate times you can choose if a cancelation happens. Leave early so you can depart on time. You do not want to get injured rushing to catch your ride!
The holidays are one of the most popular times to drink. Even people who don’t usually imbibe might have a beverage or two at a holiday party. Holiday outings to bars and restaurants typically involve alcohol of some kind. Drinking responsibly not only reduces risks to your safety, but it also keeps your friends and loved ones safe. And if you do not drink, you can lend a hand to your friends who do.
Drinking in moderation can keep you healthy and safe. Taking in a large amount of alcohol at once can get you dangerously drunk and harm organs like your liver. The impairment caused by alcohol intoxication also makes you more likely to get in an accident. Food and non-alcoholic beverages help your body process the alcohol more slowly.
Using the buddy system can also protect you from harm. If you plan to drink, bring a trusted friend who does not drink and ask them to make sure you get home safely. You can also plan your outing with your friends so you know what to do if someone gets lost.
While much of this blog post focuses on safety tips for outside the home, you should also avoid injury risk at home. An unexpected culprit puts many Americans in danger every holiday season — decorations. Bright lights and flashy baubles put you in the holiday spirit, but they can cause accidents if you do not place them carefully.
People who celebrate Christmas should take precautions against Christmas tree fires and accidents. Frequently watered live trees and flame-retardant artificial trees have a lower chance of catching on fire. Regardless of the kind of tree you have, you should keep it away from heat sources. Putting the tree in a sturdy tree stand ensures it will not tip over and harm someone.
Decorative lights can put folks who celebrate any holiday at risk. Follow the following advice to reduce your chance of a fire:
- Check the wiring in your house and electric lights for any damage. Exposed wires and broken bulbs can create a fire hazard.
- If you use an extension cord, only plug a few lights into it. Stick to about three light strands per extension cord.
- Turn off electric lights and extinguish open flames before you go to bed. Never leave either kind of light
- Keep any obstructions away from open flames. Candles and fireplaces should stay clear of other decorations.
Do Not Overexert Yourself
The holidays involve a lot of physical activity, even though it is not what first comes to mind. Holiday shopping, cleaning, decorating and even cooking sometimes make you use muscles you do not usually work with. Even those in good physical health should be mindful of muscle strain and accidents. When completing holiday chores, put your health and safety first.
Practice proper lifting when you need to pick up something heavy, like a package or decoration. When you lift by yourself, bend your knees and use your legs to lift, not your back. If something feels too heavy for you, get help from another person. Team lifting or delegating can prevent pulling a muscle.
Whether outside or inside, many people use ladders to place decorations in areas they cannot reach. When you climb a ladder, ask someone to hold the bottom to ensure a sturdy hold. Only reach as far as comfortably possible — do not try to touch something the ladder does not reach.
For Employees — Work Safely, Even During the Holiday Season Crunch
Business booms during the holiday season, making many employees busier than ever. But with the extra work comes more dangers to safety. Retail workers must especially take care during the holidays, due to the large influx of customers. Safe work practices reduce your chance of getting hurt on the job.
Holiday work can involve plenty of lifting and repetitive motions. When employees neglect to lift merchandise and supplies correctly, they can put themselves in danger of musculoskeletal injury. Even if it feels faster to skip safe lifting habits, the damage to your body can be long-lasting. Employees who do not have to lift bulky items can still experience muscle strain from repetitive motions.
The added pressure of holiday work can make employees more susceptible to mistakes and injuries. Juggling multiple responsibilities and working longer hours may cause people to skip safe habits more frequently. Losing energy and focus makes it more difficult to pay attention to avoiding injuries. Temporary workers have much to learn and do, so they can deal with similar issues.
If you do get an injury while working, make sure to report it immediately and get documentation. Follow any relevant policies and complete any required paperwork. When an injury warrants a doctor’s visit, tell them about everything that happened so they can document it in your records.
For Employers — Ensure a Secure Workplace
Supervisors should also do their part to create a safe workplace during the holidays. Eliminating any risks to safety in the first place lets employees do their work without harm. Fostering a safe workplace year-round prepares you for the holiday crunch. Creating holiday-specific plans can get you even more prepared.
If you have control over your business’ layout and resources, make sure that any workstations are as ergonomic and safe as possible. For example, you could design your cashier stations to reduce muscle strain in the hands, arms, legs or neck. Or, you could offer the tools and resources needed for safe lifting to employees who move stock.
When you design a job and its hiring process, remember to set realistic expectations. If a position requires heavy lifting, test prospective employees’ abilities before hiring them. And even if an employee proves they can lift a lot of weight, you should add other tasks to the job to allow for breaks. Implement a training program that overviews every safety-related topic possible and gives your employees a good understanding of the position.
Some businesses hire temporary employees to pick up the extra work that arises during the holidays. While temporary employees will not work with you as long as your other hires, you should still give them the resources they need to succeed. Provide the proper training and create an environment where temporary workers feel comfortable asking questions.
Employers who want to run holiday sales should plan carefully for them. If necessary, put extra staff on the job during the sales to avoid overwork and accidents. Ask employees who worked during previous holiday sales if you can do anything to make this year more secure. Review any relevant policies and guidelines with your staff and create an emergency plan.
What to Do When Holiday Accidents Happen
Even if you do everything you can to prepare for one, accidents still happen. So, in addition to taking precautions to avoid mishaps, you should also make a plan for when one occurs. Taking the necessary steps to documenting your injury and getting it treated can make the process as smooth as possible.
If your injury involves another person, keep a record of everything that happened. For example, exchange information with the other party when you get into a vehicular accident. Even if another person was not involved, taking note of everything can help you get the proper medical treatment.
When an incident requires legal action, you should contact a lawyer who can get you the money you deserve. Contact us at KGB Injury Law for a free consultation. We can help you determine the best course of action.
The personal injury attorneys at KBG Injury Law are all experienced litigators. Almost all of them represented insurance companies prior to becoming advocates for injured people, which provides them with a unique perspective and insight into how these companies operate. They also offer extensive courtroom experience if going to trial is the best legal alternative for the client.