How to have a happy and healthy Christmas

 

As Christmas approaches, excitement mounts as families prepare to come together and celebrate. However, can also be one of the most stressful and potentially dangerous times of a year as houses become crowded with family members from all generations and there are a multitude of different responsibilities and additional risks.

Christmas safety

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), more than 6,000 people will end up in hospital on Christmas Day and more than 80,000 will visit A&E over the Christmas period. More worryingly, these figures appear to be rising each year.  Recent years have seen an increase in injuries involving falls from ladders while decorating houses with fairy lights and cuts from broken glass ornaments. Christmas trees alone account for more than 1,000 injuries each year.

 

If people are looking after or hosting elderly people for Christmas dinner, it is important to take extra care of them, with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) revealing instances of choking on Turkey occurring every year.

 

RoSPA have issued the following advice to keep you and your family safe this Christmas.

Kitchen

The combination of hot fat, boiling water and sharp knives make the kitchen particularly hazardous. Try to keep people, especially children, out of the kitchen to avoid collisions. Avoid alcohol until you’ve finished cooking, and wipe up spills as soon as they happen so that people don’t slip.

 

Fairy lights

Approximately 350 people a year are hurt by Christmas tree lights, including falls while they’re being put up, children swallowing the bulbs, and electric shocks and burns from faulty lights.

 

RoSPA’s advice is to ‘Test your lights and the wiring before you put them up, as they can deteriorate over the years. If you have old lights, buy new ones that meet higher safety standards, don’t overload sockets, as that’s a fire risk.’

 

Stairs

Alcohol, tiredness and excited children make the stairs an accident hotspot during Christmas. Relatives and friends staying may be unfamiliar with the layout of the house and could fall down the stairs whilst going to the loo at night. To avoid accidents, leave a light on and keep stairs free of any clutter.

 

Decorations

According to RoSPA over 1,000 people each year are hurt while decorating their homes. Children have reportedly bitten into glass baubles and adults fall while using unstable chairs instead of ladders to put up streamers, or fall out of lofts while looking for the decorations.

RoSPA advice is that ‘Glass decorations should be placed out of the reach of toddlers and pets, Novelty decorations, such as stuffed santas, reindeer and snowmen, which look like toys, may not comply with strict toy safety regulations. Therefore, they should not be within the reach of children.’

Candles

Reports show there is a 50% increase in the chance of fatality from house fires over Christmas. ‘Never put candles on or near a Christmas tree, never leave an open flame unattended. Always place tea lights inside an appropriate container as they have been known to burn through baths and televisions.

Christmas plants

Although Mistletoe is associated with romantic and festive traditions, it is very poisonous. The berries contain toxic proteins that slow the heart rate and can cause hallucinations. The orange berries of the Christmas cherry can cause stomach pains. The Christmas rose is so effective at causing diarrhoea that it was used as a chemical weapon by the ancient Greeks.

 

RoSPA’s advice is to ‘Check with the garden centre whether the plants you’re buying are toxic and if they are, either don’t buy them, or keep them out of the reach of children.’

Stress

Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year. Drink, relatives, lack of sleep and the stress of Christmas shopping and spending, can be too much for some people – try and have somewhere where people can take some time out and have a bit of peace. Take the children out for a walk so that elderly relatives can relax.

 

Indigestion and food poisoning

Food poisoning is always a worry at Christmas. Ensure you read the instructions on the turkey well and don’t risk taking short cuts as it takes hours to cook a turkey properly. Undercooked turkey can cause salmonella poisoning, which can be life-threatening for vulnerable people.

 

Alcohol

Alcohol reduces your risk awareness. After a party, empty any residual alcohol out of glasses as children could drink the remains if they are up before the adults. Never drink and drive.

Have a wonderful Christmas period as it is a special and magical time. A little forward planning can ensure that it is a memorable time, for all the right reasons. Make sure you have a good quality First Aid kit to hand and that you are equipped with the skills and knowledge to confidently help with a medical emergency.

 

It is strongly advised that parents attend a practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

 

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

About Emma Hammett

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical First Aid course. First Aid for Life runs courses with numerous schools and clubs and provides scheduled courses suitable for young people to attend. We also love running bespoke courses for groups of friends and are happy to tailor them for specific requirements such as post exam trips away, GAP years and sports qualifications. Please contact [email protected], www.firstaidforlife.org.uk or call 0208 675 4036. For more information please visit: www.firstaidforlife.org.uk or contact [email protected] 0208 675 4036

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