Editor’s note: Thanks to the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter for this holiday safety information.
Having a busy time getting ready for the holidays? While you are shopping, baking, gift wrapping, decorating and going to parties, the American Red Cross has holiday safety tips to help keep the season safe, happy and bright.
- Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, and a tow rope.
- Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If you must travel, let someone know where you are going, the route you’re taking to get there, and when you expect to arrive. If the car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along their predetermined route.
- Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if you’re sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. When it’s cold outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
- Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play. Some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.
- Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training. (Plus, there’s a 20 percent discount until December 31st!)
- Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.
- When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.
- Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents. Close off any rooms not in use and turn off the heat in those rooms. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.
- Home for the holidays? Travel safely. Check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid. Be well rested and alert. Give your full attention to the road – avoid distractions such as cell phones. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.
- (Bonus!) Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now in case you or a member of your household faces an emergency in 2015. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.