Tis the season of holidays, gatherings, and unfortunately injuries. From late November to mid-January, families gather, parties are scheduled, and travel spikes, sometimes causing unsafe environments for your friends, family, and coworkers. During this time, safety should always be in mind. 

First and foremost, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Children and adults should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, especially as we are gathering and interacting with those that may be at risk of contracting severe cases of the illness, like those with chronic conditions and the elderly. Updated bivalent boosters became available Sept. 2, 2022. Regardless of your vaccine status, anyone who has symptoms of illness should stay home. Furthermore, when gathering with people from multiple households, consider taking a COVID-19 test prior to the event to further reduce risk. 

Traveling for the holidays is another common means for injury during the holiday season. If you’re traveling by car, be sure your vehicle is in good running condition, get plenty of rest, and be prepared for any emergency. Statistics have shown that traveling by car during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Hundreds of people die every year in crashes on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts. Alcohol impairment is involved in about a third of these fatalities.

During the holiday season, it is also important to decorate safely. Emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season. To start, keep potentially poisonous plants like mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis away from children. If you decorate using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant,” and be sure to place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources. Furthermore, make sure these trees do not block doorways in case of an emergency. Additionally, avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children or pets can reach them. Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Never nail, tack, or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow. Most importantly, turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Other things to watch out for during the holiday season are fire-starters like candles and fireplaces or turkey fryers, food poisoning when hand-cooking holiday dishes, and gifts or toys that could cause injuries or that are safety hazards to certain age groups. 

To learn more about how to stay safe during this holiday season, visit: https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/seasonal-safety/winter-safety/holiday.

DII is your partner in health and safety this holiday season. Our team of experts can work with you to understand how to protect your friends, family, and coworkers while you celebrate the holidays. Please contact your DII representative for more information. #HolidaySeason 

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