Dec 16, 2014

With the growing excitement of the holiday season it's easy to spend a little more, eat a little more, and do a little more than you had originally planned. Getting into the festivities is great, it's called the most wonderful time of the year for a reason, but it's also important not to lose your head where it matters: you and your family's safety. We've outlined below some simple things to keep in mind this season to help protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Don't leave candles unattended - This tip might seem incredibly obvious, but the holidays are a time filled with distractions. Between the last minute guests, irritating requests from in-laws, tons of cooking, and more, it's easy to leave your candles alight when you leave the room.

Image via Buzzfeed

2. Travel smart - If you're going out of town for a few days to visit with friends and family or to escape this horrible cold weather there are some precautions you should take to secure your home. Consider:
  • Putting your lights (indoor and holiday) on timers to make your home appear occupied.
  • Recruiting a friend or neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers; nothing says "no one's home" like a collection of papers and unopened letters.
  • Being careful about sharing #TMI. Predators can access your social channels and take advantage of the information you post. So please refrain from tweeting "On the way to #Hawaii! Not back til Dec 30 @ 2pm! #EmptyHouse #KeyUnderMat"

3. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors - When was the last time you tested and changed the batteries on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors? If you can't remember the last time you did it, do it now! They should be tested about two or three times a year, with the batteries changed as needed.

Expert tip: Did you know that smoke alarms have an expiration date? They last approximately 8 - 10 years, after which point they become far less sensitive to smoke.

4. Shovel the right way - Shoveling your driveway and walkway can be really hard on your body. It's a high intensity workout, done in harsh conditions, at a heightened pace. A frequent cause of cardiac arrests and cardiac episodes in the winter is shoveling. Don't hurt your heart or your body: warm up before you shovel, take breaks as you need them, and shovel frequently as opposed to lifting mountains of snow.

We hope the simple advice above helps to keep you and your family a little safer this season. Are there any other safety tips you think readers should know to help them prepare for the holidays? Let us know below!