Yes, it’s that time of year again! The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to head to the attic, your basement, or your storage closet and bring out those boxes of decorations that have been collecting dust for the last eleven months. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or maybe all three! You know you love it when all of the lights are up, the tree is decorated, and the candles are lit…but while you’re busy decorating the house and admiring the romantic glow of the fireplace, safety might be the last thing on your mind.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 240 injuries per day related to do-it-yourself holiday decorating activities during November and December of 2017. Let’s make sure you have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season with your friends and family.
Here are some of my top tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home in style this season.
1. Trees Get Thirsty Too!
A dried-out tree will definitely catch fire faster than one that has been properly watered. Be sure to check the water level every day to ensure it has proper hydration.
2. If You Fake It, Make It Safe!
If you decide to ‘go faux’ and buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire-resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.
3. Double-Check Your Lights
The CSPC issued new guidelines for seasonal light safety back in 2015. There is a setting for minimum wire size, as well as standards for strain relief and over-current protection.
4. Prevent Electrical Cord Damage
Always avoid using nails or tacks when hanging up those cords, and don’t mount lights in a way that might damage the cord. Use hooks or insulated staples to prevent any type of damage. Cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, or located near heat sources.
5. Secure Those ‘Old Flames’
Old flames can die hard…especially when they’re burning on a holiday candle. Never leave a lit candle unattended, because these neglected candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Always keep them on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Battery-operated candles are the perfect substitute, with none of the risk and all of the glow!
6. When You Say “Lights Out,” Mean It!
When leaving the house, make sure to turn all lights off to avoid a short that could start a catastrophic electrical fire. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11:00pm and 7:00am. When it’s time to call it a night and the kids have finally made it to dreamland, be sure to turn off all of the lights before your head finally hits the pillow.
It’s important to have fun decorating this holiday season and enjoy special quality time with your family and friends. If all goes as planned, hopefully there won’t be any accidents if you follow these simple tips. If by chance you do have a minor mishap, it’s always good to have a first aid kit nearby and our PreparaKits have got you covered with the essentials.
Be smart, have fun and be safe this holiday season.
When it comes to kids, accidents can always happen. This is especially true if you’ve got rambunctious little ones who like to tear around the house or the athletic field.
Since we can’t put them in head-to-toe bubble-wrap, we have to know what to do when an accident occurs. One of the most common types of injuries is a twisted ankle.
Is it a sprained ankle or broken ankle?
Sprains can hurt really badly and the first time a child experiences this pain, they may think they’ve broken their ankle. More than likely, you will find out it’s a sprain.
A sprained ankle is caused when the ligaments in your foot are pulled too much. Ligaments naturally have some “give” to them, but a sprain occurs when they are pulled too much sometimes causing them to tear.
There are actually 3 grades for sprains:
Grade 1—The least serious type, a grade 1 sprain is usually sore with some mild to moderate swelling.
Grade 2—In this type, the ligaments will tear partially, but not all the way. Putting weight on your foot is painful and the joint may not feel solid enough to support your body.
Grade 3—This one is really painful because the ligaments in your ankle are torn completely through. With a grade 3, you are looking at a longer recovery and you will not be able to support your weight on the foot for a while.
Broken ankle—This is entirely different as your bone actually cracks or snaps. With this, you won’t be able to stand at all and you will need a cast until the bones mend.
How do you treat a twisted ankle?
If you have twisted or sprained your ankle, you should try the R.I.C.E. method for treating it.
This stands for:
REST—Get off your feet immediately and take it easy. If you try to go back to playing or participating in a sport too quickly, you will likely re-injure it and make it worse. The first thing you need to do is just stop and rest.
ICE—You may have heard that you should put a heating pad on a sprain, but don’t. The best thing to do is put an ice pack on as soon as possible. Keep it on for at least 15 minutes at first. After that, you should do 15 minutes on, 15 off ice therapy for the first 24 hours at least, while they are awake of course. For the little kids, this is a long time so realistically, we like to say leave it on for as long as they can tolerate it.
COMPRESS—Apply an elastic bandage or support to your ankle to keep the swelling down. Be careful with this though. If you compress it too tightly, you may cut off circulation to your foot. Be sure you can slip a finger under the bandage.
ELEVATE—When you lay down, keep your foot elevated so that it is higher than your heart. This will help the swelling go down as fluid is drained off. This is especially useful to do at night while you are in bed.
Follow the R.I.C.E. method to help treat your child’s twisted ankles. But remember, if it is severe or if the pain and swelling persists, you should always follow up with a doctor.
Be Prepared for Sprains, Breaks and Twisted Ankles!
If you’re like me, then you probably like to limit screen time for your kids. Spending time with your kids can be a healthy activity getting everyone off the couch and active outdoors. If your children know that you value activity, they’re more likely to value it themselves.
Here’s a couple fun outdoor activities that our family likes and can get your whole family spending an active time together:
This is a simple one when you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing or having to do a lot of serious physical activity. Keep a supply of sidewalk chalk in your supply closet!
Let your child’s inner artist come out and when the rain washes it away you can start all over. If you really want to get jumping, sketch out a hopscotch grid and go to town.
Our family enjoys biking our neighborhood trail whenever we get the chance. It brings a calm to our hectic schedules. Sometimes if time and weather permit, we’ll go to the beach and ride our bikes along the trails there. I realize not everyone lives close to the beach but it can be fun riding along a canal or other body of water in your city!
Here are a few ideas that we haven’t tried ourselves but look really fun. We are adding them to our list and hope to do them really soon!
This is a great activity that’s been going on since 2000. Currently, there are millions of geocaches hidden around the world.
You can download the app and then follow your GPS on an outdoor adventure to locate this “hidden treasure.” Once you find it, you sign the log and know that you’ve accomplished something and had a chance to bond along the way.
Many local communities have weekend farmer’s markets. You can walk around outdoors and check out the incredible produce the local farmers have to offer. It’s a good way to introduce your kids to fresh fruits and veggies and instill in them a belief in supporting local businesses and independent growers.
This one caught on with college students years ago, but it’s one that the whole family can really enjoy. Some people buy all kinds of frisbees to play with, but you really only need a few that you can pick up at the dollar store. You can even make your own “course” in your backyard by designating a goal and having everyone see who can get the closest to it with their frisbee.
That’s just a few things you can do to get your kids moving and involved in the outdoors. Sure, they may complain about bug bites, the heat, or a few cuts and scrapes along the way, but those can be taken care of easily and everyone will enjoy spending time together.