The holidays can be a stressful time! Most of us will be hosting parties, looking for Christmas gifts to buy, and thinking of foods to prepare. The rest of us might be driving interstate or visiting family or friends in a different country. And right now, we are just barely a month away from Christmas!
We may sometimes be so focused on last minute things to organise, that we forget about safety during the holidays.
We’ve compiled some tips and advice for you and your family to stay safe these holidays, whether you’ll be at home or travelling.
- Avoid shopping alone, especially at night. If you must shop at night, park in well-lit and non-secluded areas, such as the mall or shop entrance.
- When walking, walk briskly and walk with a purpose. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid looking at your phone while walking.
- Have your car or house keys ready in your hand so you don’t get caught fumbling for them in your bag or pocket. Check inside the car and its surroundings before you get in. Always lock the car door as soon as you get in.
- Never carry large amounts of cash. If you become a victim of robbery, do not resist. Turn over the property to the robber while making mental notes of the person’s physical description and their clothing, then notify police immediately.
- Do not leave your shopping bags in the car, as it can become a soft target for thieves and a potential heartache at Christmas time 🙁
- If shopping online, be sure that the site and payment method you’re using is secure. Read Commonwealth Bank’s post on tips for shopping online safely.
- ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but too much food and alcohol is harmful! Eat and drink in moderation and – trust us – you’ll enjoy yourself much more when you’re not too full to take the next bite, or too drunk to move 😉
- Heat and alcohol is also a very bad combination, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s going to be a hot hot Christmas in Australia this year! Alcohol is a diuretic (i.e. it promotes dehydration) and can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. In warm weather, it makes you more susceptible to passing out. If drinking alcohol, drink plenty of fluids in between, pace yourself, and sit down if you’re feeling dizzy.
- Stay away from the pool, rivers, seas, and any other large bodies of water if you’ve been drinking – it’s difficult to swim or stay afloat as alcohol can affect your body’s motor coordination and reflexes. Drowning is a real danger when you’ve been drinking.
- Drink driving is a real danger… and against the law! If you plan to drink, don’t drive. Have a designated driver or call a cab to go home.
- If you’re sober and driving, drive safely as well because there may be intoxicated drivers (and even pedestrians) on the roads… so drive carefully at all times.
- If you have one of our breathalyzers, always keep it with you! It’s a good idea to make sure it’s calibrated in time for Christmas, too. If you will be testing friends and family, be sure to have extra mouthpieces around, and to wait at least 20 minutes before your last meal or drink before you take a test.
Secure your home.
- The holiday period is also a prime time for robbers to prey on homes, especially when it’s obvious someone’s away on holiday.
- If you’re travelling away from home this holiday season, make sure your home is secure before you leave. Lock all doors and windows, leave outside lights on at night and have indoor lights on a timer. Don’t leave gifts or valuables where they can be seen from outside the residence.
- It’s a good idea to let a friend, neighbour, the local police, or the neighbourhood watch know that you will be away so they can check up on your home regularly while you’re gone.
- If staying at home, open doors only to people you know and never allow any unknown person inside your home. Do not discuss in public items you have purchased or that you have in your home. And as always, lock your doors and windows at night and be vigilant of suspicious behaviour around your neighbourhood.
- Taking a long road trip, or flying somewhere exotic for the holidays? Apart from keeping your home safe, you should also make sure you’re travelling safe, even if it’s just for a short distance.
- We know not to drink and drive, but sometimes we forget that we might still have alcohol in our system the morning afterdrinking! That’s why it’s a good idea to check your BAC on your personal breathalyzer before you get behind the wheel. You’d be surprised – some people can blow over the legal limit of .05 at 10am the next morning!
- If you’re driving interstate, make sure you’ve checked your car before you drive. Read our previous post on safe driving tips before you hit the road.
- If travelling overseas, it’s important to not drink and drive as well. Here’s a quick guide to the drink driving rules in every country so you can be prepared before you fly off.
- An Australian Christmas is rarely complete without a barbeque on a good, sunny Christmas arvo. If hosting an outdoor barbie, be sure to have your barbecue positioned somewhere safe and away from objects, including the house, shrubs, and bushes. Your barbecue should also be checked thoroughly to ensure there are no broken parts or leakage on the gas cylinder. Here are some really useful bbq safety tips you should definitely read.
- If cooking indoors, watch what you heat and keep your cooking area clean. One of the leading cause of fires is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen while you cook, and if you have to leave, turn off your burners. Ensure all potholders, towels, wooden utensils, bags, food packaging and curtains are away from the stovetop. And of course, don’t let children play in the kitchen so as to avoid any mishaps!
- Keep children away from cooking areas. Enforce a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove or barbecue. Put a sticker on the floor and tell children they can’t go any farther than the sticker. And maybe even assign a responsible older child (like a teenager) to watch the unruly, younger ones.
- Christmas trees and lights can be a fire hazard, so it’s important to read the warning labels before you start decorating.
- Buy Christmas lights that meet Australian Standards and have the appropriate compliance marks on the label or tag. Secondhand or cheap lighting that don’t have a guarantee may be a bargain, but it’s not worth the risk as you can’t be sure of what you’re getting.
- Buy the right lights for the right purpose, such as low current solar and LED lights in outdoor areas with appropriate weather proofing.
- If using last years’ lights, be sure to inspect them for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive wear.
- Do not overload outlets or connect strings of lights into extension cords.
- Never leave holiday lights on when you leave the house or go to bed!
- Fire officials urge us to not use lit candles… if you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they can’t be easily knocked over. And of course, never leave a lit candle unattended.
- Do not place your Christmas tree near a heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, or heater.
- Check out some tips on safe Christmas lighting here
The holidays are a great time for family and friends to come together, so let’s follow these simple safety tips to stay accident- and injury-free this season!
Have a Happy Holiday!