How to stay safe during Thanksgiving

by MichelleR on November 21, 2012

Safety in the kitchen is always important, but it is especially important on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at the home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment, with more than 4,000 fires occurring. Following are some safety tips:
  ***If you notice, most of these safety tips are directed at children. By no means should children be the only focus for safety precautions, Don’t forget about the adults that are enjoying alcoholic beverages, anyone that tends to be clumsy by nature, and your loved ones that might have Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
• Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
• Keep pot holders and food wrappers 3 feet away from the stove or other hot surfaces.
• Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
• Organize activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time.
• Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
• Keep knives out of the reach of children.
• Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
• Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children (up high in a locked cabinet).
• Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
• Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Fried Turkey- sounds delicious, right?

Don't let this happen!!!

The use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil can add great flavor and crisp. But these turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger: hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property. If your taste pallet demands fried turkey, then keep the fryer outside, away from walls, fences and other structures. Also, keep the fryer away from moisture to avoid burns from steam and spattering oil. Why not just leave it to the professionals!?



Spend the holiday at homeEating undercooked turkey is another Thanksgiving health problem. If a turkey is thawed at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, salmonella or other bacteria that cause food poisoning can grow.  Safely cooking a turkey starts with correct defrosting. There are three methods for safe defrosting. The turkey can be thawed in the refrigerator—one day for every 5 lbs. of the bird. The turkey can be submerged in water if it is in leak-proof packaging—30 minutes for every pound. The water should be changed every half hour. It’s also safe to defrost a turkey in a microwave. Remove any packaging and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  With all three methods it’s important to cook the turkey immediately after thawing. Don’t slow cook or partially cook the turkey, and check the temperature with a meat thermometer to determine if it’s done. Even if the turkey came with a pop-up thermometer, it’s necessary to check the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey needs to be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (and the stuffing, too).
Let the turkey rest before carving. This gives the juices time to set.



The most common cause of choking is talking while eating. If a person is unable to cough, breathe or speak, the first thing to do is call 911. Next, the Red Cross recommends a technique called FIVE-and-FIVE for choking victims.
The first step is giving the choking victim five sharp blows on the back, using the heel of the hand. If the obstruction is not dislodged by this move, the next step is to give the victim five quick, upward abdominal thrusts.
Some people run from the table when they start choking. It’s important to stay with other people so they can give assistance. If the victim is alone, he can give himself the five abdominal thrusts using his hand or by pressing his abdomen firmly against the back of a chair.


Eating Thanksgiving leftovers that have been improperly stored can also lead to food poisoning. Leftovers need to be put away within two hours after serving the food. (This includes pumpkin pie.) They go in the refrigerator if they are going to be eaten within three days, otherwise they go in the freezer. Food should be stored in shallow containers. Meat should be removed from the bone before being put away.  Reheated leftovers should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Gravy should be brought to a vigorous boil.
Thanksgiving brings health hazards to dogs and other pets as well as humans. Don’t give turkey bones to pets. Turkey bones and other bird bones are hollow, which makes them likely to splinter. This can cause tears in an animal’s esophagus, stomach or intestines.
Fatty holiday foods, like turkey skin and gravy, can contribute to pancreatitis. More pets are brought to vets for pancreatitis after their owners have had a party or holiday dinner.  Be careful about leaving chocolate candies out (or kids dropping candy on the floor). Chocolate can cause illness and even death when dogs ingest it. In addition, dogs shouldn’t be fed grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol or anything with caffeine. It’s also important to keep the string used to tie the turkey and other food wrappings out of reach of pets.  Dogs also tend to be excited when there are lots of people in the house. When they are excited, they often eat too quickly, and this can lead to bloating, a very dangerous condition. Feed your dog before the guests arrive and don’t let them be too active before or after eating.


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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