“Insure” Your Holiday Goes off Without a Hitch!
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and is traditionally a time for family and friends to gather for good food and fun. Unfortunately for some, it can turn into a weekend of injury, accidents, and food-related illness.
When you’re planning to entertain a house full of people this season, here are a few commonsense thanksgiving holiday safety tips to assure that everyone will have a great, accident and injury free time.
Make sure your house is ready for company.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your guests is to have a clear, clean and unobstructed path to your front door. Keeping your driveway and sidewalks cleared of ice, snow and any type of debris that could facilitate slips, trips and falls is a great way to ensure a smooth path toward Thanksgiving fun. Be sure that sidewalks have been sanded or salted, and if you have icicles hanging from overhead, be sure to remove them before guests arrive.
Once your guests are indoors, be aware of the potential for injury from burning candles. If you do have lit candles in your home, make sure they are safely out of reach from children or pets. And, be sure to remember to extinguish them all before you call it a night.
Don’t let your butterball turn into a fireball.
One of the most common causes of fire and injuries during Thanksgiving is improper handling and cooking of food, particularly the Thanksgiving bird. Deep fryers are the biggest culprits. The combination of propane-fueled fryers with large quantities of boiling hot oil is a perfect recipe for serious burns from splattering grease.
Dumping a cold, wet turkey into boiling grease, instead of making sure it is first patted dry and then slowly lowering it into the grease, greatly increases the danger of fire and serious burns. Most firemen will tell you to leave the deep frying to professionals, who have the experience and the proper equipment.
Carelessness in the kitchen is another factor that contributes to fires, burns and other injuries. Never leave flammable items, such as oven mitts, towels or plastic utensils near an open flame or sitting atop a hot stove.
One of the most easily avoided causes of serious burns comes from leaving pot handles turned outward, where small children, pets or even your sleeve or apron can accidentally knock them over, spilling the scalding contents on unsuspecting victims and necessitating a trip to the emergency room.
To ensure that your Thanksgiving preparations go off without a hitch, pay attention to the old saying, “too many cooks spoil the pot.” Keep all small children and pets out of harm’s way while dinner is being prepared.
Keep these Thanksgiving holiday safety tips in mind while you’re in the kitchen this year!
Avoid food-related trips to the ER by properly storing and preparing your feast
While most data about trips to the hospital around Thanksgiving is largely anecdotal, many physicians and emergency-room staff will tell you they see an uptick in food-related illnesses, such as listeria or salmonella, within 12 to 24 hours after the big meal.
While you might think that some of these Thanksgiving holiday safety tips are obvious, they are worth repeating, just in case.
Never, never take shortcuts when thawing the turkey.
- Turkey should be thawed in your refrigerator, allowing approximately 24 hours for each four-five pounds of bird. So, a 20-pound bird will take about four days to safely thaw in the fridge.
- Another safe method is cold-water thawing. Submerge your wrapped turkey, breast-side down in cold water, allowing approximately 30 minutes per pound to thaw. It is important to change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that you are keeping the turkey immersed in sufficiently cold water.
- Be sure to cook the turkey immediately after thawing, when using the cold-water method.
Never stuff your turkey the night before.
- This mistake is truly a recipe for disaster, as bacteria can grow and multiply while your turkey sits in the fridge the night before. It is fine to make and refrigerate your stuffing the night before. Just be sure to let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before stuffing it into the turkey.
- One more thing about stuffing: all the ingredients in your stuffing should be cooked before it goes into the bird.
Football and other after dinner fiascos.
A popular tradition for many “All American” families, the annual post-turkey day football game is a great way to burn off some calories and avoid the food coma that puts many people to sleep soon after the feast.
However, the backyard scrimmage can wreak havoc on your holiday. Emergency rooms typically see cases of heart attacks, resulting from already out of shape people over-exerting themselves after they’ve consumed large quantities of food.
Another facilitator of football injury is alcohol. A day of drinking – especially for people who don’t normally consume alcohol – can result in impaired judgment, diminished balance and reduced reflexes. So, before the team “suits up” for the big game, make sure they’ve had some time to digest their food and drink.
Following these Thanksgiving holiday safety tips when getting ready for the big feast will help ensure that dinner at your house goes off without a hitch.