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Tis the Season for Safety


Submitted by Kanoski Bresney Law Firm

The holiday season presents many safety issues that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a disastrous one. Following are some general tips to make sure you and your family enjoy and celebrate the season with safety in mind.

TRAVELING: According to the National Safety Council, traveling by car during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Alcohol impairment is involved in about a third of the fatalities. If you will be traveling, make sure that your car is prepared for winter and includes an emergency kit; don’t drive if you are feeling sleepy; and give yourself plenty of time to allow for increased traffic. Be sure to minimize any distractions such as from other passengers or pets, cell phone use, searching for GPS navigation, or eating in the car.

FIREPLACE: If you have a fireplace, do not use “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown onto wood fires. Fire salts contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if swallowed. Get the chimney checked each year. Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result because wrappings can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

DECORATIONS: Decorating related injuries are quite common, with many injuries involving falls. In addition, fires due to Christmas trees and candles result in many injuries, significant property damage, and sometimes even death.

Following are some decorating safety tips from the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

  • If you have a live tree, be sure to check for freshness. The needles should not be falling off and the bottom should still be sticky with resin. Set it up away from any heat source, doorways, or traffic patterns and make sure the stand is always filled with water.
  • If you will be purchasing an artificial tree, make sure the label says “fire resistant.”
  • Common sense tells us to take extra care if you have small children or pets. Don’t use sharp or breakable ornaments, stay away from small objects that could be a choking hazard and make sure the tree can’t tip over easily.
  • Keep candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface where children and pets cannot reach them or knock them over. Place lit candles away from items that can catch fire such as trees, decorations, curtains, and furniture. Better yet, invest in battery operated candles that look like the real thing.
  • Make sure that lights for both indoor and outdoor use meets strict standards that testing laboratories are able to verify. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Check outdoor lights for labels showing the lights have been certified for outdoor use and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.
  • Use a safe, appropriate ladder for hanging lights outside.

COOKING: For many families, the holidays mean extra baking and cooking of special foods. Cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires. It is not recommended to even use a turkey fryer as they cause many injuries, burns and fires. If you must use one, only use it outside well away from your home—not inside your garage, or on your porch. Follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove; keep children away from the cooking area, and keep flammable items, like potholders and paper or plastic bags, away from the stove and oven. Have a fire extinguisher easily accessible and ready to go in your kitchen. NEVER use flour or water to put out a kitchen fire.

TOYS: Always follow age recommendations when choosing toys for children. Choking on small parts and riding toys cause the most injuries. Be especially careful with magnets as swallowing a magnet can cause serious intestinal injuries. Stuffed toys should have age-appropriate features such as embroidered or secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play. It’s a good idea to purchase toys from retailers that you know and trust. Many toys are manufactured overseas and you can’t always be assured of the quality.

While the holiday season is an exciting time of year, it is also a time when people may be more vulnerable to injuries. If you or anyone in your family should happen to be injured due to defective or mislabeled products, contact Kanoski Bresney Law Firm. Here’s to a happy, healthy, holiday season.

For more information on any type of personal injury or to schedule a free consultation, contact Kanoski Bresney law firm at 888-826-8682. They are the largest personal injury law firm located within central Illinois and they have the resources to handle any type of injury claim anywhere in the state including McLean County, Sangamon County, Adams County, Champaign County, Schuyler County, Peoria County, Macomb, Macon County, Quincy, Bloomington, Tazewell County, Champaign, Decatur, McDonough County, Pekin, Springfield, Peoria, and Rushville. Their experience helps ensure that their clients get the respect, response, and results® they deserve. They will evaluate your case and work to determine what your next steps should be moving forward.