The holidays are upon us, and for many Americans that means more than just time with friends and family. It also means an influx of various consumer products, and increased risks for accidents and injuries. In fact, statistics show the numbers of product-related accidents tend to rise significantly during the holiday season. From injuries involving festive decorations and electrical products to potential risks posed by children’s toys, there are a number of product hazards that can harm consumers and their holiday spirit.
In an effort to raise more awareness about product-related risks during the holidays, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has taken an engaging and fun approach. Through a new social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the CPSC is sending tried and true safety messages to the public in “fun wrappers.” Officials say the colorful memes and recurring characters, including one by the name of Handsome Ron, created through the campaign are critical to promoting engagement with extremely serious holiday safety topics.
To help spread the word, our team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has put together some helpful holiday product safety tips using information from the CPSC:
Stand by Your Pan – This phrase may be catchy and a play on “Stand by Your Man,” but it also sends an important message. According to the CPSC, cooking is the leading cause of residential fires in the U.S. During the holiday season, when many less-seasoned home chefs take to the kitchen, the number of residential fires reported to authorities can increase by as much as three times the average. Experts remind anyone cooking during the holidays to never leave food unattended in the oven or on the stove, and to always make sure those stoves and ovens are turned off after use. You should also avoid wearing long sleeves or loose-fitting clothes when cooking, and keep flammable materials such as paper bags or potholders away from the stove.
Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Alarms – Residential fires are a major concern during the holidays. In addition to cooking, an increase in electrical holiday lighting, various electric decorations, and flammable materials or décor can dramatically increase fire risks. As a safety precaution, be sure to have at least one working fire extinguisher (“just like grandma used to make,” as the CPSC says) in your home at all times, with one preferably near the kitchen. You should also inspect your smoke alarms to make sure they’re in working order and that they have fresh batteries. While both tips are a year-round safety measure, they become even more important during the holidays.
Decoration Dangers – Holiday decorations create more than just the holiday spirit in your home; they also create considerable fire hazards. If you use a real Christmas tree in your home, make sure it’s regularly and adequately watered, as dry trees can ignite and spread fire rapidly. If you’re opting for an artificial tree, be sure to check for fire resistant labels, and keep any tree, real or not, away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, and heating vents. When using candles, check your surroundings and ensure they’re set up on stable, heat-resistant surfaces, kept away from places where children can access them or where they can be knocked over, and used well away from flammable materials. Candles should also be kept within your sight after being lit and extinguished before you leave the room. If you’re using holiday lights, be sure to check for loose connections, bare or frayed wiring, and cracked sockets prior to setting them up.
Children’s Toys – The holidays are a special time of year for children, which is why it is important to ensure the toys you purchase any kids in your life are safe. For one, be sure to only choose age-appropriate toys, even if you think your little one is precocious enough to use toys graded for older children safely. You should also buy from reputable retailers you trust, be sure you gift safety pads and helmets if you’re gifting a riding toy, avoid giving high-powered magnets as a gift to children, and never gift toys with small components to children under the age of three. You may also want to reconsider certain gifts considered among the most dangerous for children. For example, the CPSC includes balloons (which pose choking hazards), toys with small parts or balls, and non-motorized scooters, tricycles, and other riding toys among the most dangerous toys for children under the age of 15.
Our legal team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. hopes you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season! As a New York City law firm that has represented victims harmed as a result of preventable accidents, workplace incidents, and dangerous and defective products for more than 35 years, we are unfortunately aware that even the most safety-conscious folks can suffer harm in avoidable accidents – particularly when others are negligent.
If you have questions about an accident involving dangerous children’s toys, defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed products, or any other preventable accident, our legal team is available to review your case and discuss your legal rights and options. Call (212) 577-9325 or contact us online 24/7 to request a FREE consultation.