Family Safety: Safe at Christmas

Introducing our new mumpreneur partner Judit Jósza who runs

Hungarian by birth, Judit moved to Switzerland two years ago with her family and having identifying a need for safety information and equipment set up her own company in April 2013.

Here she shares with us her tips for staying safe over the festive season and winter months.

Safety is rarely an everyday topic, but it should be. And what does winter have to do with accidents? Accidents often occur at this time of year:  days are shorter and darker and the holiday preparations take a lot of extra time for us.  There are Christmas trees to decorate, meals to prepare, presents to buy quickly. There are also candles, open fires and fireplaces! Never mind the fact that adults often consume more alcohol at parties and during the holiday we do more winter sports outside on ski slopes and ice rinks.

So what are the risks around us we should be aware of this time of the year?

  • 300,000 people are injured each year by falling. The risk of falling is particularly high in winter. Take your time! The feeling of urgency and stress reduce your ability to perceive and concentration. Wear shoes with soles that have good traction on packed snow or ice. Put on ice grips over your jogging or running shoes when jogging in winter.
  • Whether cycling on dark afternoons or walking to school on early mornings reflective or neon clothing provide extra visibility and safety. The clothes with various “bright elements” can be combined – lamps on bikes or reflective velcro straps on bags, on the arms and legs.
  • Sport keeps you healthy and is fun – as long as nothing happens. To minimize the risk of accidents and to enjoy the sport itself protect yourself! Use personal protective equipment while doing winter sports: inline skating, skiing, sledging and snowboarding.
  • Sledging through the snow is fun for big and small. However, this is not without danger: almost 11,000 accidents occur per year due to falls or collisions. By following some basic advice, check the slope for other sleds before you start and be sure you know how to brake! This way you can ensure that the sledge ride does not end in the hospital.
  • Snow blindness is a painful eye condition caused by too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays. It is a real risk at the snow. It can affect anyone who enjoys snowy outdoor activities such as hiking, sledging or skiing. Fresh snow is a particularly good reflector and almost doubles a person’s UV exposure. On top of this, as snow is usually encountered at higher altitude the atmosphere is thinner and absorbs less UV radiation. Always wear sunglasses and protect also the babies’ and children’s sensitive eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays.
  • Christmas time is the time for candles and so, unfortunately, the time in which the most fire accidents occur. In Switzerland around 1000 Christmas trees and Advent wreath burn every year during these days. If a tree or a wreath catch fire, they burn brightly within seconds. Candles should be blown when people leave the room. In addition, make sure that candles are replaced on Advent wreaths and Christmas trees before they burn down too far.

  • Always put a a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher next to the tree and the wreath. You can put out a fire in initial stage within a few seconds, but without it the whole house could burn down in minutes. But be aware: anyone who tries to extinguish a fire himself, risks smoke and gas poisonings and injuries. In case of fire alert the fire department immediately – number 118 and bring all the inhabitants of the house to safety. Fire safety should also be discussed with children.
  • Christmas tree balls are made of a very special glass or – more recently – made of plastic . Broken parts are not included in the trashcan, but should be sorted out separately. Glitter, snow or gold sprays are not “green products”. For “snow” on the tree it is better to use cotton wool spots. Artificial snow from a can contains solvents and propellants that cause health risks and also highly flammable. The empty cans as special waste .
  • Thin gold jewelry ribbons, so-called fairy or angel hair, is often made of glass wool. Therefore when it get onto the skin and especially the eyes, it can lead to a serious injury.
  • Poinsettia or Christmas Star: this decorative plant comes in the weeks before Christmas in many home. Parents of young children should be careful because itssap is toxic and can irritate the skin.
  • After a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party is a great temptation to postpone the cleanup the next morning. The following morning, children are often the first to awake in the apartment while the parents are still asleep. The battlefield of the previous evening is particularly interesting. However, if an infant is served at half-full glasses of champagne and wine remains, it can quickly lead to serious poisoning. Infants are much more sensitive to alcohol than adults.

After this list of risks what can we wish for ourselves for Christmas and holiday time? You should not be panicked or fear of everyday dangers. But be prepared. It is always more sensible to be aware than to suffer from the possible consequences. If you plan ahead what to do to prevent accidents or react in case it happens and teach it to your children, too – you could feel more relaxed at this time of year.

We wish you a happy and relaxing Christmas time and safe holidays and new year!

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