Holiday Food and Decor Safety ?at Home?

Hazards lurk all over the home when it comes to holiday decor and food. Here's what to watch out for

Increased fire hazards are just one of the many added risks the holidays bring

Hazards lurk all over the home when it comes to holiday decorations and food. Here’s what to watch out for

Much as we love the holiday season, it can pose a number of special risks and safety concerns that aren’t apparent during the rest of the year.

Here’s what to consider and how to prepare:

Hazards for Pets 

  • Tinsel, ribbon and electrical cords pose potentially dangerous temptations for pets that love to chew, so be sure to keep them out of paw’s reach. 

  • Chocolate can be toxic (even fatal) for dogs or cats, so keep chocolate boxes or bars away from nosy noses.

  • Antifreeze is fatal for pets. Keep antifreeze properly secured and stored, and thoroughly clean any spills.

Fire Hazards

Live trees pose a potential fire hazard, especially when they start to dry out, which is why they must be watered daily and should be removed as soon as the needles start to fall.
Holiday lights should be certified (CSA, ULC or cUL), and should be checked thoroughly for frayed cords, loose connections or broken bulbs. Also, don’t overload electrical circuits by stringing together too many sets of lights.

  • Unattended candles left burning near flammable decorations, curtains or near playing children or pets are another potential cause of house fires. Never leave candles unattended. 

Hazards for Children

If you have young children, or if young children will be visiting, avoid using decorations that are sharp, breakable or have small removable parts, or that look or smell like candy.
  • Use child safety gates to block access to stairs and rooms that have not been child-proofed; cover electrical outlets; and keep cosmetics, perfume, medications and household chemicals secured and out of reach.

Food Hazards

Kitchen hygiene (clean hands, surfaces and utensils) is always important, but especially when you’re preparing a wide variety of foods for entertaining.
  • Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods.
  • When entertaining, keep cold foods cold (below 40°F/4°C) and hot foods hot (above 140°F/60°C), and never leave food on the table for more than two hours.
  • Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers and use them within a day or two.

Tip: Ask your guests about any allergies to help minimize the risk of reactions.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.