Holiday dinner / event Safety Checklist

by deborah on November 17, 2011

in Holiday Food, Decorating & More, Hosting Holiday Visitors

Holidays are wonderful and oh so Romantic!  

They can also be dangerous if you don’t plan ahead …   Please share your advice on this post.  

Emergency rooms and poison control hotlines are always buzz with activity over the holidays. Don’t ruin your celebration with a run to the hospital and/or an embarrassed relative and/or a lawsuit.

I have begun a checklist of things you can do to make sure your holiday dinner or event is jolly.  

One of the Christmas pins available from "A Romance Renaissance"

However, I’m sure I forgot something!  Please help us all and share a comment or story of your own …

Household Safety Check:

Lets start with the entry to your home.            

Are your walkways cleared of ice and snow?  

Do you have someone coming that’s wheelchair bound? If there are steps up to the door, do you have another way for them to get into the house?

Also consider how you want people to enter your home in the first place.  All through the front door?  Or the garage?  Do you have doormats in the right place?  Are they hefty enough to do the job?

SHOES:  Do you have people take off their shoes? Think about where you can put all those shoes so people aren’t tripping over them or the dog isn’t chewing them up.  

COATS AND PURSES:  While we’re at it – where will you have guests put their coats and purses?  Remember that little kids love to go through pockets and handbags. Children can hide or misplace car keys, ingest drugs they find there, etc.  I once found my niece Jillian going through my wallet.  She had dollar bills and credit cards pulled out all over the floor.  This taught me a lesson!  Make sure purses are put up high!

By the way:  Make sure you have the number for poison control and your local ER right next to the kitchen phone or in your cell.  Better to give them a call rather than “wait and see” if something a kid swallowed is going to hurt them… then you are dialing 911… 

OUTLETS & SUPPLIES:  Are you having toddlers come to your dinner?  If so, make sure any electrical outlets that they could access are covered. Make sure that toddlers (and let’s call them “inquisitive” children) cannot access harmful chemicals or cleaning supplies.

ASSIGN A WATCHER:  Think about the families you are inviting.  Do the parents watch their kids closely?  Or do they let them have full run of your house?  What can kids get into?   It’s always a good idea to “assign” an older, more responsible child to “watch” the little ones.  Charge them with keeping the younger ones out of trouble.  It gives the older child a sense of responsibility and they will feel like they are contributing to the event.  Of course, you have to judge if you need to check on he older child as well, occasionally, to make sure they are doing THEIR job!

ELECTRICAL CORDS:  Move or secure any cords on the floor that someone could conceivably trip over.

BREAKABLE & SHARP:  Move out of harm’s way anything on end tables or coffee tables or down low that you don’t want broken.  This is not just a precaution for children.  Over the years, more adults have broken things in my home during events than children!

While we are back on the subject of children for the moment, do also make sure that “little things” – breakable or not, and scissors or sharp objects, that toddlers can stick in their mouth are also put away.  I myself, particularly have to think about this one, because of all the crafting and sewing tools and supplies that I leave around the house – which is often just one big craft studio!

FURNITURE:  Also think about your chairs.  Are any in need of repair?  Do it well in advance.  You don’t want Grandma getting hurt on a broken chair!

CANDLES:  How Romantic!  How Renaissance!  But, if you are going to employ them in your decor, think about where you are going to put them.  Can they kids get to them? Are they in the way of activities? I once caught my hair on fire because a lit candle was on a bar too close to the food that was being served.  I bent over to put something on my plate and my (then, long) hair fell into the flame. WHOOSH! It’s amazing how fast hair and clothing can catch fire …

FIREPLACES:  While we’re on the subject of fire … is your fireplace ready?  Has it been cleaned this year and checked out? This is especially  important if you have a wood-burner.  Also, do you have a screen for it?  Keeping the little ones away from the fire is another key task for the “Kid Watcher.”

THE KITCHEN:  I advise keeping kids out of the kitchen when its busy – usually right before dinner or right after.  They can get stepped on, burned or have something dropped on them.  They can also pick up knives or put the wrong things in their mouths.  They can get into liquor or cleaning supplies. NO LITTLE KIDS IN THE KITCHEN!  If they can’t wait and need something, this is where your older “watcher” child or adult can come in handy.

FOOD:  And, don’t forget to put away the food.  As soon as you can put food that you don’t intend to throw away, in the refrigerator or freezer. You don’t want any “next day food poisoning.” (Food Safety will be covered in another post so hold those thoughts.)

LIQUOR:  Lots of people drink during the holidays that don’t drink on a day-to-day basis.  (I’m one of them.) And, they don’t realize or think about how its going to affect them.  Plan ahead to check with everyone at the door before they leave.  (You can worry with the dishes later.  The dishes aren’t going anywhere!)   If they’ve had a couple of glasses of ANYTHING alcoholic, check with them to make sure they are OK to drive.  Camp them on the couch or call a cab if necessary.

It might seem like considering these safety precautions are an added burden, but they are worth it.  You like/love your guests right?  And, want to see them again for the next holiday?  

DDB  :-D



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane King November 23, 2011 at 5:41 PM

If someone wants fried turkey for Thanksgiving, have them fry it at their house and bring it to yours. Let their fire department come to their house and your firemen can enjoy the holiday with their own families.

Cousin Diane


deborah December 1, 2011 at 12:10 AM

That’s a very good tip! I hear quite a few fires get started each year because people set the turkey fryer too close to the house!
thanks for the reminder!


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