Holiday Safety Tips

How to Celebrate Sensibly

Starting in late November, millions of people around the world will devote time to rituals and traditions that signify some of the best things life has to offer – faith, family, friendship and more. To make this season even more meaningful, holiday revelers should always remember to celebrate with safety. offers a timely look at this theme with the Holiday Safety Guide. From decorating to cooking to traveling, the information in this guide will help you and your family enjoy the holiday season with joy and without incident.

Avoid a Kitchen Nightmare

Tips for the safe preparation and handling of food:

  • Thawing: In the refrigerator, in the microwave or in cold water – no exceptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the specifics on how to safely thaw food and keep dangerous bacteria at bay.
  • Preparation: Foodborne illness is nothing to mess around with, particularly in the case of bacteria from raw poultry. Keep your hands and utensils clean, as well as cutting boards and other surfaces. If any of these touches uncooked meat, they’ll need to be washed before they come in contact with other foods.
  • Cooking: Turkey should be thawed completely and placed in the oven breast-side up. Using a food thermometer, make sure the internal temperature of the turkey reaches at least 165 degrees. The 165-degree rule also applies to stuffing, whether it’s cooked inside or outside of the turkey.
  • Carving: Use sharp utensils and a dry cutting surface. Never cut with the blade moving toward you. Check out some basic carving techniques in this video

Deck the Halls with Deliberation

    • The Tree: Avoid older trees, which dry out more easily and pose a greater risk for fire. Look for resin on the bottom of the trunk, with firm needles and strong branches. Place it away from heat sources and high-traffic areas and keep it watered. For more information, check out this Christmas Tree Safety Video
    • The Lights: Use lights with certification from UL or another testing facility. Check bulbs and sockets before plugging in. Rule of thumb: The more extension cords and power strips you use, the closer you are to overloading your circuits.
    • The Greenery: Mistletoe and poinsettias are lovely to look at, but don’t eat any part of these plants or place them within easy reach of children. The risks range from mild stomach discomfort to serious illness.
    • The Wrapping Paper: On general principles, paper should be tossed or recycled but not thrown into the fire. Although many types of colored paper use safer types of ink these days, burning pieces of paper drifting up the chimney could create a fire hazard.

Rededicating Your Commitment to Safety

The Festival of Lights means, of course, candles. Keep these tips in mind as your menorah grows brighter:

    • Never leave lighted candles unattended.
    • Keep candles and oil lamps out of the reach of children.
    • Place candles at least three feet away from curtains, paper and other flammable materials.

If you’re frying up some latkes, remember three critical rules for dealing with cooking oil fires:

        1. Pour baking soda on a grease fire, but never pour water. Water will only create steam and send the flame shooting upward.
        2. Cover the pan with a metal lid, but never a glass lid. Glass can easily crack or shatter when exposed to an open flame.
        3. Turn off the heat, but never try to move the pan. You could spill the hot, burning grease and injure yourself.

More Holiday Safety Resources

How to Be a Responsible Host

      • Ask about any dietary restrictions or food allergies prior to deciding on the menu.
      • Keep an eye on the intake of alcoholic beverages so that you don’t over-serve your guests. If they haven’t already chosen designated drivers, call for volunteers before the festivities get underway.
      • If your guests are bringing their kids, make sure to childproof your home (safety latches on cabinets, corner and edge bumpers on furniture, safety caps on electrical outlets, etc.) Be sure that adult supervision is constant. Just for fun, have some age-appropriate toys on hand.

How to Avoid a Deep-Fried Disaster

      • Turkey frying is never a suitable indoor activity, so take it outside.
      • The turkey should be completely thawed and dry before going into the fryer. (Water and boiling oil are a dangerous combination.)
      • Don’t overfill the fryer. Keep the oil level at about ½ inch above the turkey.
      • Ideal temperature for the oil is 350 degrees.
      • Good choices for the type of oil include sunflower, canola and peanut (beware of peanut allergies, though). The higher the smoke point, the better.

Bad Examples:Here’s a look at what not to do when deep-frying a turkey.

How to Keep Your Home Secure

Learn how to thwart a real-life Grinch with some basic holiday home security tips.