As we approach Christmas and the New Year, I’m sure you’ve experienced the holiday hustle and you’re more than ready for the celebrations to get here. But now is the time to be on high alert. Here are some items to consider while shopping, cooking, or entertaining.

Last Minute Shopping

Last minute holiday shopping can be a dangerous endeavor. Parking lots are packed and holiday shoppers are in a frenzy to find the perfect gifts for their friends and family members. Be patient and be aware; consider your surroundings. These tips may be helpful to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you:

  • Avoid distracted driving. Drivers have a lot on their minds during the holidays, and with the constant buzz of the holiday coupon notifications and package delivery texts, it’s tempting to pick up your phone while driving. Get to your destination safely before checking your phone. There isn’t a holiday deal that’s worth an accident.
  • Use designated crosswalks when crossing streets and walkways. Distracted drivers and busy parking lots make it difficult to get from your car to the store and back. Use the designated walking areas and make eye contact with drivers before crossing their paths, so they will be more aware of your presence and make smart decisions.
  • Always wear a seat belt – even when driving in a parking lot. Parking lots can be more dangerous than the roadways this time of year. You may not be able to avoid an accident, but you can avoid injuries by always wearing your seat belt and asking your passengers to do the same. And don’t forget about the kids – even if it’s a short distance between stops, it is necessary to have a child passenger strapped into their car seat or booster with a seat belt at all times.
  • Report potential hazards to the proper authorities. If you witness an accident waiting to happen, tell someone who can help. For example, if you’re in the mall and see a spill on the floor, locate a store employee and stand with them while they clean it up. This will keep them on top of the task and prevent other people from falling in the mess in the meantime.

Holiday Cooking

Memories are made over the preparation of holiday meals, but holiday kitchens can become chaotic. Everyone tends to gather in the kitchen, so the space can get tight quickly. Here’s a list of safety tips to keep those kitchen memories joyous:

  • Always use oven mitts when handling hot items. This should be common sense, but chaos and noise can interfere with common sense.
  • If there is a kitchen fire, do not throw water on it – smother it. Cover the fire with a large pot lid or soup pan. If you have an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.  Whenever possible, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and give your guests a tour of the safety devices available.
  • Do not wear loose clothing when cooking near hot surfaces or open flames. Not only could a low hanging sleeve catch fire over the stove, but it could end up in your potatoes during dinner. If you’re involved with the food preparation, it’s best to tuck away excess material to avoid fires, burns, and unnecessary dry cleaning bills.
  • Keep your knives sharp. Believe it or not, dull knives are more likely to lead to an injury than a sharp knife, and if your can opener breaks, go to the store and buy a new one. Do not attempt to open canned food with a knife.
  • Mop it up! If something spills, clean it up before you or someone else slips and falls.

Hosting Guests

It’s always an honor to host during the holidays, but with great honor comes great responsibility. You want your guests to be comfortable and safe. Needless to say, considerable planning and preparation must go into hosting to ensure that guests have a memorable time related to the joy and cheerfulness of the season. Below is a list of safety tips to remember before inviting guests into your home this Christmas:

  • To reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents, keep walkways in your home and yard free of holiday lights and other decorations. If a person trips and falls on electric cords or is injured due to a hazardous situation, you could be liable since as the property owners you must take reasonable measures to ensure that your property is safe and hazard-free. Don’t forget the path to the entrance of your home. Be sure it is well lit and free from any tripping hazards.
  • Do not leave gifts with small pieces lying around. Small children will inevitably put found items in their mouths, and choking is the leading cause of toy-related deaths. You won’t be able to keep an eye on all of the children all the time, so do a sweep of the house before guests arrive to ensure a safe environment for infants and toddlers.
  • Designate a driver. Encourage your guests to designate a driver before they arrive or provide some type of alternate transportation if alcohol will be served. The consequences of drunk driving are life-changing and not worth the risk. Not only does drunk driving result in liability for any alcohol-related accidents, but it can also result in jail time. If you are hosting a holiday party, do not let party guests get behind the wheel if they are intoxicated.

At Grall Law Group, we love Christmas and the joy it brings to our community. We celebrate the New Year, as each year brings new opportunity. We want you to have a happy and safe holiday season. If you or a loved one suffers an injury due to the fault of someone else over the holidays, we want to be there to help. Give us a call for a free consultation – 772-569-0000. We will discuss your legal options and fight for the compensation you deserve. Grall Law Group, your personal injury attorneys, wishes everyone a happy, and safe, holiday season!