The holiday season in the United States of America is close at hand, a time when families will gather in homes across the country–and think of our loved ones who may be far away or absent, give thanks for what we have, invite others into our homes, and cook and serve some great food dishes. For some families, it is a time of football rivalries and parade watching. For many young mothers and fathers, it’s a bit stressful trying to keep family traditions going while managing children and guests and preparing the holiday meal at the same time.
Childsafetyblog.org wants to remind parents that amid all the planning and preparation over the holidays they shouldn’t lose sight of safety, especially fire safety. This week in a local SafeKids Coalition meeting, we learned that the numbers of home fires throughout the year in the U.S. spike to three times the norm over the Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone needs to be concerned about the increased odds that there could be a fire in our own communities and neighborhoods, not to mention in our own homes, if we don’t pay attention to some fire safety basics.
Below are some good, basic safety tips for the holidays to help avoid fires and burns while cooking, including some from Underwriters Laboratories:
- Un-clutter the stove top. Try to keep your stove top clear of too many dishes, pots, and pans. That’s difficult considering you may be cooking for the great horde–possibly make a few things ahead… refrigerate and re-heat.
- We’ve noted this previously but it bears repeating:
DO NOT HOLD A CHILD IN ONE ARM WHILE COOKING WITH THE OTHER!
- Do not pour water on a hot greasy pot or pan–it may splatter right back in your face! Cool the pan first before immersing it in warm water.
- Never pour water on a grease fire! Turn off the burner, using an oven mitt place a lid on the burning pan to smother the flames and let the pan cool completely before touching it!
- Avoid using a turkey fryer at all cost! While frying turkeys has become popular in recent years, doing so has become one of the most typical factors in fires and burns at Thanksgiving. If you don’t believe this and need more convincing, please check out the following video on YouTube (it pretty much tells the story): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHD61SGufqM
- Never place a glass casserole dish or lid on a stove or over a burner! It may explode and send shards of glass flying in all directions.
- Always stay in the kitchen while the food is cooking! Have someone else periodically inform you of the game’s scores if you’re not near the TV!
- If you are using electrical appliances to prepare your holiday meals, such as slow cookers, electric carving knives, food processors and other peripheral cooking appliances, like hot plates, juicers, blenders, etc., look for the UL markon the appliance. Manufacturers use the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark to indicate that the electrical appliance meets specific safety standards.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen–and know how to use it! Remember: PASS… Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep! Pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the nozzle and sweep the spray back and forth while aiming at the base of the fire!
- Never wear loose clothing while cooking!
- Never lean over a stove burner when it is on or hot!
- Never pass a hot dish or pitcher of hot liquid over a child’s head or hands!
- Turn all pot and pan handles away from you
- Make sure there are good batteries in your smoke alarms! (We hope you did this, when you set your clocks back an hour a couple of weeks ago. If you didn’t, do it now!)
- Unplug small appliances which are not in use. You’ll save energy and eliminate the possibility they will automatically come on and overheat without your knowledge.
As always, Childsafetyblog.org wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.