How To Put Safety First During The Holidays

Dec 22, 2017

Teresa Hunsaker is a family and consumer sciences educator with Utah State University Extension. When it comes to holiday safety, there are three categories to look out for: food, electricity, and toys.

In the kitchen, a few common mistakes cause most cases of food poisoning.

“That’s one of the big culprits, is not cooling our food down, that we’ve cooked, fast enough,” Hunsaker said. “The other one is leaving food out too long, so the rule of thumb is two hours at room temperature and it needs to go back in the refrigerator.”

Another common source of food-related illness is raw egg, in either raw dough for treats or in eggnog. Pasteurizing eggs is one way to make safe homemade eggnog. Another option is to opt out of the eggs in eggnog entirely by substituting a pudding mix.

It’s also important to ensure children’s safety with new toys.

“One of the very first things, before they even purchase, quite honestly, or if it was a gift to the child from maybe a grandparent or somebody else, is to check the recall list that the government puts out,” Hunsaker said. 

These recall lists include recalls.gov and cpsc.gov/recalls. She also recommends making sure that toys are age appropriate for children they’re intended for, to avoid choking hazards.

For electrical safety, there are a few common holiday culprits.

“They have, you know, too much need and so they just plug in, plug in, plug in,” Hunsaker  said. “And then they’re not buying the right extension cords for the purpose, and they’re not buying the ones that have been inspected for electrical safety, and I think that’s probably the number one problem.”

Hunsaker recommends checking that your electrical equipment has been inspected by a nationally recognized safety testing laboratory, like Underwriters Laboratories, Intertek, or the Canadian Standards Association. Another common mistake is using indoor electrical equipment outdoors, which can lead to dangerous wear and tear.