For many families across America, Thanksgiving dinner is the most important meal of the year. You have family and friends over that you may or may not see throughout the rest of the year with the hope that you put out the best meal they’ve had since last year. However, as the chaos and football take center stage, there’s one thing that can never be overlooked on Thanksgiving –safety.
It may seem trivial to think about safety during a time of celebration and being thankful, but at a time when so much is going on with lots of people around, safety has to be on the minds. Don’t just take it from me. The American Red Cross offers these facts about Thanksgiving Day accidents:
Thanksgiving Day Facts
- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day.
- Cooking fires nearly double on Thanksgiving Day, occurring more than twice as often than on any other day.
- Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
- Every two and a half hours someone is killed in a home fire. In a typical year, 20,000 people are injured in home fires.
- Eighty percent of Americans don’t realize that home fires are the single most common disaster across the nation.
- The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.
- Thanksgiving Day home fires cause more property damage and claim more lives than home fires on other days.
- Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.
The facts are alarming, but here are 10 Thanksgiving Day safety tips to help you get through turkey day safe and sound:
10 Thanksgiving Day Safety Tips:
1. Establish a kid-free zone
Kids love to play, run, jump, pull, grab, and be free, which undoubtedly leads to them tripping, falling, crashing, bouncing, breaking, and smashing anything in there way. So before the crowd starts to wonder in, establish a kid-free zone that sets boundaries around cooking and preparation areas. This keeps the kids safe and your dinner preparations running smoothly, without having to stop and help a wounded child or worse.
The first Thanksgiving dinner took place in Plymouth Colony in October, not November, in 1621.
2. Keep someone in the kitchen at all times when cooking
Pots are boiling over, timers are going off, smoke is barreling out the oven, sound familiar. Cooking always requires attention, especially on a day when you’re cooking enough for small army to devour, and have leftovers. To avoid any catastrophes (or at least minimize them as they happen), keep someone in the kitchen at all times until the cooking is done, all ovens and stove tops are off, and the last bit of food is out on the table.
3. Make sure all smoke detectors are working
Smoke detectors are a life saver. Take the time to check them out prior to the big day and replace them or the batteries as needed. The cost of a nine volt battery or new smoke detectors is far cheaper than the damage a unattended house fire can cause.
George Washington advocated for Thanksgiving to be an official holiday on October 3, 1789.
4. For those who love to deep fry…
Lets be honest, a deep fried bird on Thanksgiving is among the best dishes on the table, so I for one am not going to say don’t deep fry your turkey this year, but I will remind you of the dangers. Deep frying is nothing new, but for some reason it continues to be a leading cause of fires and injuries on Thanksgiving. For starters, make sure you’re doing it outside and far enough away from your home that if something does go wrong, it’s out of harm’s way. Also, it doesn’t take Breaking Bad chemistry lesson to understand that hot oil and water don’t mix. Unless you’re trying to make a hot liquid bomb, make sure the turkey is completely defrosted and dry before dropping it (and by dropping it, I mean lowering it extremely slow) into the hot oil. Thinking ahead and reading/following your user manual prior to firing up the deep fryer this season is a sure way to keep your deep frying experience safe and delicious.
5. Clean as you go
A messy or cluttered kitchen is a dangerous kitchen. Keep your counters clean and your floors clear of debris. The cleaner you keep your kitchen, the safer your cookout will go. Waiting until you’re done cooking to clean is not safe, nor sanitary. Cleaning as you go will keep you safe and reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do at the end of the day.
Every year the U.S. President pardons a turkey. Abraham Lincoln was the first.
6. Easy on the decorations in the kitchen
Decorate the rest of the house with all your seasonal spirit, but go easy on the kitchen. Some dish towels and oven mitts are one thing, but keep it to that. Things move fast in the kitchen and the last thing you need is to be tripping over a fallen decoration or sitting a hot plate on your child’s clay decoration they made in school.
7. Keep candles to a minimum
Candles are a great way to welcome guests into your home. They smell good and are a great mood setting device, but they also pose a threat. Keep your candles to a minimum and make sure they are put in a safe location, out of reach of small hands, or a table that could be bumped into.
The first professional football game held on Thanksgiving was in 1934, when the Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears in front of 26,000 fans. The Bears won 19-16.
8. Use extra long oven mitts
Those extra large pots that collect dust for 364 days a year can cause awkward and dangerous moments in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. Use large oven mitts to help avoid being burned, which could lead you to drop or spill your large pots and cause serious injuries or burns.
9. Use hot pads
Hot pads are not a dish towel thrown onto a table. Because you are using more dishes than normal, you may run out of hot pads and want to use a dish towel instead, but this is unsafe. Your best bet is to use heavy non-combustible hot pads to avoid any potential safety hazards and make sure you have enough on hand.
Scientist say the tryptophan in turkeys isn’t the primary cause of post-dinner drowsiness. Instead, they cite alcohol and the amount of calories you consume.
10. Monitor alcohol intake
For some, it’s the only way to get through Thanksgiving, but you need to set limits. Consuming more food than you would in a week in a matter of hours, combined with large amounts of alcohol will make you drowsy and lethargic. This will slow your reaction times down and possibly create hazards for you and your loved ones. And always, always, always have a designated driver to get you home safely, otherwise it’s Grandma’s couch for you!