Living Well

Holiday Survival Guide

Dr. Andrew Siegel, MD
Holiday Survival Guide

The holidays are here! It’s time to string the lights, light the candles and hang the holly. However, there are risks when we begin to climb ladders, use the kitchen more and burn candles. More than 13,000 patients are treated each year in the emergency room due to holiday related accidents. Touro wants families to be aware of the safety risks that can come with decorating, cooking and holiday parties.

What are some of the high-risk threats?

About 33 percent of holiday decorating injuries are caused by falls from ladders.

  • Check the ladder’s label to make sure you don’t exceed the weight limit
    • This includes your body weight and the weight of the decoration you are holding
  • Inspect the steps before you climb to be sure they are solid and dry, and make sure the ladder is on even, solid footing before you climb
  • Always face the ladder when moving up and down
  • It’s also safer to use ladders with someone there to help you, supporting the ladder while you climb

On average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year.

  • Choose fresh over cheap and dry
    • The fresher the tree, the less likely it will pose a fire hazard.
    • Look for flexible needles that don’t break, and a trunk with sap.
  • Keep the water coming
    • The tree stand should contain a constant source of water and be sturdy enough to resist toppling by kids or pets.
  • If you opt for a synthetic tree it should be flame resistant and have a seal for an approved safety testing laboratory if the tree contains a built-in lighting set.
    • Never leave lights on overnight and be sure to shut the light off when you leave the house.

What are some ways to practice cooking safety?

Home cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Christmas EveWe are typically cooking for more mouths and have more distractions than usual

  • 83 percent of people admitted to engaging in dangerous cooking behaviors, like watching TV or disabling the smoke alarm — dangers that are only intensified by a house full of guests and packed holiday schedules.
    • Make dishes a head of time to lighten the load
    • Never leave your cooking unattended
    • Use crowd control. Friends and family tend to gravitate towards the kitchen, but limit your distractions and send them into the family room with a snack.

Click here to watch Dr. Siegel share other tips on surviving this holiday season.

Andrew Siegel, MD is a Primary Care Physician for Crescent City Physicians. He was born and raised in California and spent his undergrad years at the University of California, Davis. He originally was interested in bench research and spent a couple of years juggling pipettes. While earning his Master’s Degree, he refocused his career path onto medicine and went on to earn his medical degree at Tulane University. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and child, being outdoors, cooking, or eating at one of the city’s many tasty restaurants.