Home Safety Tips for the Holidays

Aging Matters

    I hope you have a heart filled holiday season with family and friends, even the furry kind.

    The following home safety tips landed in my email box from Allstate and I feel they're great ways and simple reminders for staying safe during this season.

    People love the tasty goodness that can come from deep-frying a turkey in oil. But the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises against gas-fueled turkey fryers since they pose a danger for burns and a fire hazard.

    Underwriters Laboratories (UL) also warns of the potential dangers and offers these safety tips:

    • Always use turkey fryers outdoors, away from buildings, decks and anything else that may catch fire. Never use the turkey fryer in the garage or indoors.
    • Stand the fryer on a level surface to avoid accidental tipping.
    • Keep kids and pets away from the fryer.
    • Never leave the fryer unattended.
    • Make sure to fully defrost the turkey. Never put a partially frozen turkey into hot oil, as ice and water may cause the oil to spill over and catch fire.
    • Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water on a grease fire.

    Protect Furry Friends

    Holiday lights and decorations can lead to cords scattered around the house. Be sure all cords are secure or hidden so your pets aren't tempted to play with or chew on them, says the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It may also be a good idea to unplug cords when you're away to minimize the risk of electrocution.

    Keep human food, drinks and desserts out of a pet's reach -- dogs and cats shouldn't eat certain foods because it could make them sick. When you wrap up mealtime, be sure the counters are clear of food, store away all leftovers and take out the trash. Secure the lids on all trash cans to help deter dogs from trying to dig in.

    Avoid lighting candles -- they can be dangerous to your pets and create a fire hazard. Never leave lit candles unattended because your curious pet could burn themselves or knock them over.

    Common holiday plants could be dangerous to your pet -- mistletoe, holly and poinsettias could cause your dog or cat to have cardiovascular or gastrointestinal issues if they ingest them, says the ASPCA. Keep in mind that certain plants can also affect different animals and breeds in unique ways. Be sure to research how specific holiday plants may affect your pet before deciding to showcase them in or around your home.

    Carol Marak, aging advocate, columnist, speaker and editor at Seniorcare.com. She earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from USC Davis School of Gerontology.

    Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

    Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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