For many in the US, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday. Loved ones gathered around the table, counting blessings, mouths watering in anticipation of roast turkey and all the trimmings, pumpkin pie, grandma’s special recipes and all of the traditions that warm the heart. Whether you’re spending the day with your nearest and dearest or enjoying time with friends, practicing safety in all regards will ensure that you enjoy the holiday to its fullest.
Arrive and Depart Safely
Plenty of people will be on the road this Thanksgiving holiday, beginning early in the week, and wrapping up the following Sunday. Those traveling near and far include families with young children, college students on break, grandparents eager to see little ones, and weary hosts making a last minute run to the store. Keep yourself and those you love out of harm’s way by practicing these Thanksgiving safety tips:
- Make sure your car is roadworthy. Breaking down is even more frustrating when the nearest tow truck can’t get to you for several hours. Check your tires, schedule an oil change, if you’re due, and gas-up before you hit the highway.
- Avoid all distractions. Never text and drive, no matter how important you think it might be. If you must answer someone right away, pull off the road into a safe, well-lit area and make it brief.
- Pay attention to the weather on your route. Remember, rain can turn to sleet, and wet roads can become icy in a matter of hours. If the weather becomes hazardous, you might need to look for a hotel for the night and wait out the storm.
- Your car should be equipped with a road emergency kit (flares, fire extinguisher, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.) as well as a First Aid kit.
- Do not drive impaired, no matter how short the trip.
- If you’re flying somewhere, arrive at the airport in plenty of time to handle the security lines. This is the busiest travel time of the year, so plan on crowds, and plan accordingly.
Meal-Prep and Cooking Safety
- Defrost your frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Place the bird in a large pan to catch the juices and ensure sufficient thawing time. Allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. A 15 lb bird could take 3 days to fully defrost.
- Cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 165°. Don’t cook your stuffing inside the bird. Doing so can create uneven temperatures in both the turkey and your dressing, which can lead to food poisoning.
- Carve carefully. Kitchen-related cuts (chopping vegetables or carving turkey) are the most common injuries.
- Make sure to refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours of the big meal.
- Never leave pans on the stove unattended. The number of cooking-related fires triples on Thanksgiving Day.
- Point all pot handles toward the back of the stove. This isn’t just to prevent little hands from tragic accidents, but for your own safety as well.
- If you’re frying or grilling a turkey this year, be sure to follow all of the cooker manufacturer’s instructions TO THE LETTER. Turkey deep fryers can be deadly if caution isn’t strictly observed. If you’re in doubt about the how-to, contact your local fire department, or visit the manufacturer’s website.
- Don’t let your pets consume turkey bones, raw dough, undercooked meats, or sweets.
- Make sure the food is properly cooked and cool enough for a child to handle.
Make sure you practice these Thanksgiving Safety tips and take a moment to go over these measures with your family and those with whom you’ll be sharing the day. Whether Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, be safe in all you do. After all, you’ll need to be on your A-game to handle Black Friday!