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Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano

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Holiday Hazards 

How to keep your family and guests safe this season

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but also the season for home injuries. Nearly 12,800 emergency room visits each year are attributed to holiday hazards, such as falls and electric shocks from hanging decorations, according to the Home Safety Council.

Here a physician on the Baylor Scott & White – Plano medical staff shows us how to keep our family and friends safe in our home this holiday season.


Examine holiday lights and extension cords before plugging them in. Get rid of any that are frayed or damaged. And follow the instructions on the packages when connecting multiple strands of lights. The rule of thumb is not to connect more than three strands to any one outlet. Always unplug lights and cords when sleeping or leaving home.


To hang outdoor lights and decorations, use a sturdy ladder placed on solid ground. It’s always a good idea to have someone with you to hold it steady. Never climb above the designated highest safe step.


Keep surfaces free of grease and keep dishcloths and oven mitts away from hot surfaces to avoid fires. Place food away from the edge of the counter, stovetop or table to ensure children and pets can’t pull it down on top of themselves. Never leave food to cook unattended.


Check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.


Install grab bars and nonstick floor mats in guest showers to decrease risk for slips and falls. If children are visiting, use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.


When choosing a live tree, pick one with green, flexible needles. Position it at least three feet from heat and fire sources and keep it well watered.


Use stable candle holders and place them out of reach of children and pets. Never leave a flame unattended and extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the house.

Learn about when you should go to the Emergency Room, or for a referral to a physician on the Baylor Scott & White – Plano medical staff, call 1.800.4BAYLOR or search for a physician through our online directory.