10 Nov How You Can Enjoy Thanksgiving By Avoiding the 3 Most Popular Thanksgiving Injuries
Understanding and avoiding the injuries that tend to increase during holidays such as Thanksgiving can create a more enjoyable and safe environment for the entire family
There’s no doubt that this year has had its fair share of ups and downs, but the holidays are here to stay, and knowing what to do to steer clear of Thanksgiving injuries can promote a pleasant environment for you and your loved ones.
The Shapiro team enjoys providing safety tips for our clients and readers alike. In the past, we’ve discussed important holiday topics such as how to stay safe on New Year’s and common injuries that occur on the Fourth of July. What we’ve observed when it comes to the reality of holiday is this: While holidays are a time for celebration, they can also be a time when safety precautions are lowered due to the general gaiety, resulting in many injured, sick, or even fatal situations. So, to avoid adding to the statistic of the thousands who are injured during the holidays, we’re bringing you a list of injuries that increase during the Thanksgiving holiday — but we won’t leave you without a solution. We’ll also be sharing practical suggestions that could be taken to avoid these common Thanksgiving injuries in addition to what to do if you find that you or someone you love has experienced an injury this holiday.
Injuries That Increase During Thanksgiving
Let’s take a look at the 3 most “popular” injuries people experience during Thanksgiving:
traffic fatalities ● kitchen fires ● food poisoning
If these injuries look familiar, it’s because they are. With the overconsumption of alcoholic beverages, fires, and food poisoning, we call to mind our other holiday blogs mentioned at the outset of this article. In our New Year’s blog, we focused on threats on the road. Sad to say, this same threat increases on Thanksgiving. And with an increase in alcohol consumption, potentially inclement weather, and an influx of nighttime drivers, getting behind the wheel can be especially threatening during this time of year. Our special Fourth of July blog highlighted fire-related accidents and injuries in addition to food poisoning as some common injuries, and such injuries find themselves increasing on Thanksgiving.
Traffic fatalities increase during the holidays due heavily to accidents involving alcohol. Millions of travelers across America hit the roads on their journey home for the Thanksgiving holiday — in fact, more than 40 million Americans will be driving more than 50 miles from home this year, according to the AAA auto club. And some might find it a shock to learn that neither New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, nor the Fourth of July isn’t are the holidays that rank highest for the deadliest car accidents. On Thanksgiving, road congestion combined with travelers in a rush combined with alcohol consumption create the perfectly deadly formula for injuries, accidents, and fatalities.
According to a special Thanksgiving feature published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, “From 2012 to 2016, over 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6:00 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it the deadliest holiday on our roads.”
Kitchen fires seem to be quite the unanticipated hot commodity during Thanksgiving, and for obvious reason. According to State Farm Insurance claims data, more cooking-related fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Why? Deep-fried turkeys, of course. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep-fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year, and hot oil spills and splatter can result in serious burns to an adult and life-threatening injuries to a child.
Food poisoning is a result of food being left out in unsuitable temperatures for an extended period of time. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday, food often gets left sitting out on the counter, leftovers are improperly reheated, and food spoils from being prepared and stored carelessly — all resulting in what we refer to as food poisoning. In this article, it’s recommended that those who plan to prepare turkey this Thanksgiving check out the tips provided by Environment, Health and Safety Online for further precautions.
Avoiding Common Thanksgiving Injuries
Let’s refresh some of the pointers about drinking and driving here that we talked about in our New Year’s blog:
- Designate a driver. Make your designated driver selection before heading out to your Thanksgiving dinner. This will make it clear to everyone who will stay sober to drive everyone home safely.
- Arrange to stay overnight. If you are able, it may be a smart choice to stay the night wherever you end up. This will ensure that no one at your dinner drives home unsafely.
- Plan for your guests’ safety. If you’re hosting a dinner, be sure that your guests get home safely. While each should take responsibility for their own safe actions, you can help them by making sure they have not had too much to drink. This might require you to monitor the number of drinks available and how much one person is permitted to drink. And if those at your house might need to spend the night, be prepared to provide them the opportunity to do so.
- Keep an eye on weather conditions. Thanksgiving comes in the transition between fall and winter, which means leaves and potential water, ice, or snow on the grounds. So, you may need to deal with some inclement weather. Pay attention to reports and carefully consider if the weather should keep you from going out. Remember, staying in can be just as fun as going out! And in the face of storms, it is much safer as well.
- Enjoy the evening, but always take driving seriously. Don’t use your phone, don’t speed, always wear your seatbelt, and never drink and drive. And make sure to encourage your friends and family to do the same!
When it comes to kitchen injuries, including fires, burns, and lacerations, this article gives us some good advice:
- Focus on your task at hand. Don’t get distracted when slicing food.
- Take your time. There is no need to rush, whether carving the turkey, slicing vegetables, or peeling potatoes. It’s better to be slow and steady than quick and careless.
- Make sure you are comfortable carving the turkey. This is not an ideal time for a first-time carver.
- Use a sharp knife. You’ll be surprised to learn that most accidents occur with dull knives. This is because dull knives require more “force” or “pressure” on our end to get the dull blade to slice. With the movement and pressure, things can often slip, slide, drop, and the like.
- Keep your cutting board secure with a non-skid pad to avoid slipping and sliding.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. Stay in the kitchen and never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Clean and clear the area around the stove before turning on the heat.
- Move items that can burn away from the stove. These include towels, bags, boxes, paper, and curtains.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
- Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
- When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
- Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- Use a timer to remind yourself the stove or oven is on.
- Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
For food poisoning, consider the following suggestions and try to implement them this holiday:
- Wash your hands often to avoid food contamination.
- Use separate utensils and cutting boards for meats and produce.
- When cooking turkey, the minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.
- Refrigerate left-over dishes in shallow containers within two hours after meals have been served.
- Store turkey in the refrigerator up to three to four days; discard thereafter.
- Avoid reheating leftovers in plastic containers
Enjoying Thanksgiving the Fun, Safe Way — Free of Injuries
This Thanksgiving, don’t prioritize fun over safety; with the right knowledge and by setting aside a bit of time to take the appropriate precautions, you can have both a fun and safe time with your family this holiday season. If you or anyone you know is suffers an injury, be sure that you know who to contact. In addition to 911, you can also contact a professional who specializes is personal injury cases. Remember that the holidays are a time for festivities and smiles, not injuries and tears. The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro care about your safety. Reach out to us for more information if you have any questions, and Happy Thanksgiving!