Christmas calls for an abundance of gifts, overindulging in long lunches with loved ones and long road trips. But with all the responsibility of hosting parties and organising family holidays, it can be just as stressful as it is enjoyable.
With lots going on and being so heavily invested in organising events and last-minute gifts, safety can often be the last thing on our minds. That’s why, whether you plan on travelling or staying home this silly season, we’ll help you and your family stay safe with these helpful tips.
One of the most magical things about Christmas is the effort people make to adorn their homes and trees with colourful light displays. But doing so can sometimes be a dangerous task that requires a lot of patients and precision. Although these pretty lights can really wow your family and neighbours, they also pose a safety hazard.
- Be wary of buying non-compliant Christmas lights over the internet from overseas and always make sure the lights you’re using are Australian compliant and have an Australian Approval number.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting them up.
- Avoid putting up outdoor lights in windy or rainy weather.
- Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.
- Check old lights before re-using them.
- Test your safety switch and smoke detector before setting up your lights.
- Add a safety switch to your switchboard.
- Consider getting additional outdoor power points to avoid overloading circuits.
- Turn off lights when you’re not home or use a timer.
- Ensure any artificial Christmas trees and decorations are flame resistant.
Most people like to complete odd jobs which they otherwise wouldn’t have time for during the year. This means dusting off the ladder and using it to get to all the nooks and crannies in hard to reach places. But no matter what the job may be, ladder safety is important.
- Properly inspect your ladder before using it to make sure it’s in good working order.
- Use the right sized ladder for the job.
- Never substitute a ladder with furniture. They could be unstable and cause an accident.
- Ensure that the ground you’re placing the ladder on is stable and level.
- For every 1.2 metres that the ladder rises up the wall, place the bottom of the ladder 30cm away from the wall.
- Wear appropriate footwear that has good grip and is enclosed such as work boots or sneakers.
- Make calculated movements and never overextend or stretch for hard to reach places. Instead, get off the ladder and move it closer to where you need to reach.
Gifts for young children
Gifts bring joy to children but even they can be dangerous, especially presents that have multiple parts, are small in size and can be easily swallowed. The wrong present in the wrong hands can mean trouble.
- When buying presents for youngsters always follow the age range displayed on the packaging.
- Be mindful of gifts that have small removeable parts or strings that could strangle, choke or suffocate children.
- To check whether or not a gift can pose a choking or ingestion hazard to a child download the free choke checking safety tool from Product Safety Australia.
Hitting the road
More people off work means more people of the road. Increased traffic is inevitable during the holiday season but there are safety measures you can take to make sure your protected on the road.
- Get plenty of rest the night before. Usually eight hours of sleep should ensure you’re rejuvenated for the long drive ahead.
- When planning your trip, allow enough time to arrive at your destination. This means making allowances for taking a break every two hours, refuelling and potential traffic.
- Prepare your vehicle before taking off. Get your car serviced prior to leaving for your trip to make sure everything is in optimal condition and remember to safely secure caravans and boats before getting behind the wheel.
- Stick to speed limits and in wet conditions, slow down and leave enough space between you and other drivers.
Protecting your home
The silly season is the perfect time for people to leave their homes and jet set to their favourite holiday destinations. Which means it’s also the perfect time for robbers to invade unoccupied residences.
- Don’t tell the entire world about your holiday plans on social media. And if you want to post pictures of yourself beachside sipping on a cocktail, wait until you return home.
- Don’t let mail pile up. Instead, ask a friend or neighbour to collect it for you so it’s not obvious no one is home.
- Lock all windows and doors and triple check to see everything is secure before you leave.
- Leave a small light on or if possible, use a timer so it looks like someone is home.
- Ensure your Home and Contents Insurance is up to date and you have a detailed inventory of valuable items in your home.