The holiday season in New England is a beautiful and festive time of year. From Christmas trees to holiday lights to family gatherings, you’ll always notice more smiles around the holidays! But there are also some safety hazards that come with food, travel, and trimmings. Decorate safely and keep your holidays merry and bright with these five holiday safety tips.

Avoid The Gift of Food Poisoning

Few things can mar a festive family dinner more than a bout of food poisoning! Keep your cooking top notch with these guidelines from U.S. Department of Health and Food Services:

  • Do not wash the turkey. The only way to kill that bacteria is to fully cook the Turkey.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours to prevent bacteria from growing on food.
  • Cook the Turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165° F.

Be Prepared For Holiday Travel

The holiday travel season carries the highest automobile fatality rate of the year. With so many cars on the road it’s important to check a few things before you leave:

  • Make sure your vehicle’s maintenance is up-to-date.
  • Keep your cell phone away. Let the passenger control the tunes.
  • Map your schedule and consider leaving earlier or later to avoid peak traffic times.

O Christmas Tree

If you’re celebrating the season with a Christmas tree, be sure to follow these basic safety tips to make sure your tree is decorative and not a fire hazard:

  • If you’re using a fake tree, be sure the label reads Fire Resistant.
  • When setting up your tree, be sure to place it away from any radiators, fireplaces, portable heaters, heat vents and televisions.
  • Cut a couple of inches off of the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This will allow the water to better absorb into the tree and keep it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

Light Safety

Whether you’re looking to add a decorative accent to your home or create a beacon in the neighborhood, the basics of holiday light safety are the same:

  • Only adorn your tree or home with lights that have been tested for safety by UL (Underwriters Laboratory) and marked as such.
  • Use no more than three standard-sized sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Check all of your lights before hanging them to make sure all of the bulbs are working and no wiring is exposed.
  • Check any extension cords for frayed wires and be sure they are UL approved.
  • Do not run extension cords under the carpet.
  • Do not overload outlets or multi-outlet power strips.
  • Use LED candles for ambiance rather than wax or liquid oil votive candles.
  • Be sure to turn off all Christmas lights before going to bed.

Take Time For You

It’s also important to take the time to care for your mental health during the holiday season. Relationships, family gatherings and seasonal stresses can take their toll on anyone. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a few helpful tips to keep your holiday season stress free:

  • Don’t feel pressured to “overspend” on gifts.
  • Make a plan to focus on one thing at a time.
  • Most importantly, remember the holiday season is about spending quality time with your loved ones.

The holiday season in New England is a magical time of year. Take these few basic precautions, you can make sure it’s a safe one, too.  You can find more seasonal tips and insurance news on our website or give us a call at 508-676-5949! We’d love to hear from you.

Happy holidays from HIG!