With Christmas and New Year’s quickly approaching, it’s fun to think about all that the holidays have to offer. From the family gatherings and great food to gift exchanges and family time, the holidays are mostly a fun time for all. However, especially in 2020, the holidays bring about safety concerns regarding COVID-19 and even regarding those new toys for the kids. In this week’s Health Journal, we discuss how to stay healthy and safe this holiday season and help remind you what to look out for this year.
Staying COVID-19 Safe:
COVID-19 has affected all of us to some extent and will undoubtedly affect our holiday season as well. Whether it’s family gatherings or travel, it’s important to take safety precautions wherever you are. Here are a few tips to help keep your holiday season COVID safe.
- Try outdoors: If you are hosting or participating in a family gathering, consider having it outdoors with plenty of open space. The risk of COVID-19 transmission is greatly increased in indoor spaces that don’t provide adequate ventilation. An outdoor gathering may even make it easier to stay socially distanced from one another, allowing for a safer alternative. Even when hosting an outdoor gathering, it’s important to adhere to CDC guidelines by wearing a mask and maintaining distance.
- Keep it small: If deciding to have a gathering, try to limit the number of households to three, if possible. The more families that are together with an increased variety of people, lends itself to a higher risk of COVID-19 spread.
- Keep it short: In addition to limiting the number of households that gather, also consider limiting the duration of the event. It is recommended that a family gathering not last longer than two hours and events lasting longer are even banned under some state orders.
- Just one: When participating in a get together, it is recommended that you keep it to just one event. Participating in multiple family gatherings increases the risk of COVID-19 spread since the number of households involved also increases.
- Wear a mask: It is recommended that you wear a face mask at all times, including when conversing with others. Of course you may remove your mask briefly to eat or drink, but try to be mindful of your social distance when doing so.
- Our hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water or even use hand sanitizer when it is available. Family gatherings often lead to a lot of hugs and handshakes, so be mindful of when you have been in contact with someone else and may need to wash your hands.
- Try virtual: We understand that doing a virtual get together is just not the same, but in 2020 it may be the safest option. Zoom calling your friends and family can be fun as well and allow you to catch up on some of the things you may have missed over the last few months. It’s also a great option to get people together from all over the world who may not have been able to attend your party in person.
If you have children, the holidays can be an even better time of year. The special moments and time you get together lead to memories that can last forever. Now, as great as the Holidays can be, they also present challenges to child safety we don’t always see during other times of the year. Below are a few things to look out for this holiday season to help keep your children healthy and safe.
- Christmas Tree: Buying a real tree can be a great way to spend time as a family, but once in the home they can provide a multitude of hazards. It’s important to ensure the tree stand is always filled with water so it doesn’t dry out and pose a fire hazard. The real tree with also leave pieces of pine on the floor and it’s important to keep them out of the children’s reach.
- Decorations: Keep decorations out of the reach of children and securely fastened to the wall. Any object that is small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube can obstruct the airway of a child.
- Mistletoe/Poinsettias: It’s important to keep these out of your children’s reach as well. Poinsettias can be toxic when ingested so it’s important to keep them up in a safe place where they can be monitored.
- Toys: Make sure your children’s toys are age-appropriate and the batteries cannot be easily removed. Batteries come in all shapes and sizes, which can pose a choking hazard to any child that can somehow remove them. If you are unsure about whether a toy is age appropriate, check the box or wrapping as an age will be listed on it.
- Gifts: It is recommended that you avoid placing gifts under the tree that contain glass, perfume, poisonous substances or sharp materials. Keeping these gifts out from under the tree will help ensure your child won’t accidentally get into something potentially dangerous.
New Year’s Safety:
As we get set to begin a New Year, there are enough celebrations and New Year Resolutions to go around. As we discussed at the top, COVID-19 has made in impact on our celebrations this year, but that doesn’t mean they are non-existent. New Year’s celebrations are synonymous with alcohol and hanging out with friends, and with that there are a few safety precautions to take to ensure a safe start to the New Year.
- Designate a driver: If you’re planning to spend a night on the town that includes alcohol, decide how you’ll get home before you have that first drink. Whether it’s a friend or cab, having a designated driver in place beforehand allows you to have a safe way to get home. As always, never drink and drive.
- Safety in numbers: With COVID-19 still prevalent, it’s still important to remember that there is safety in numbers. If you can, it is recommended that you party with at least a couple of friends to ensure you are able to look out for one another.
- Car Tip: According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, New Year’s Day is the top holiday for car thefts which means you have to be extra careful. It is recommended that you don’t leave your car anywhere overnight and always remember to lock the doors.