Thanksgiving for most people means platefuls of food, naps, and football. While the emergency room is the last thing on your mind when you’re preparing to host family members for one of the biggest dinners of the year, the holiday could lead to personal injuries.
5 Common Thanksgiving Personal Injuries
Overall, the U.S. mortality rate annually spikes around Thanksgiving and remains elevated through winter. Some of it is due to seasonal effects. However, personal injuries around Thanksgiving often occur due to car accidents, slip and falls, and food-related injuries.
Each year, the National Safety Council estimates the number of fatal crashes that are likely to occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Note that the Thanksgiving holiday period tends to run from the Wednesday before the holiday through Sunday. In 2016, the National Safety Council predicted as many as 437 fatalities.
AAA estimated that 48.7 million Americans would be traveling during the holiday; about 89% of which would be motorists driving to their destination. The organization has not yet released data for 2017, but the number of travelers has continued to increase over the years – especially when gas prices remain low.
In Arizona, there were ten fatal crashes during the holiday weekend, making it the second deadliest holiday weekend of the year.
Slip and Falls
The busiest time of year for most grocery stores is right around Thanksgiving. Most retail stores anticipate huge crowds on Black Friday so they’re often prepared for the frenzy. The jam-packed stores and overzealous shoppers mean you’re much more likely to be injured. Slip and falls are more likely to occur due to spills, uneven floor surfaces, poor lighting or poor housekeeping.
Frying a turkey? Be careful. Make sure your guests stay away from the heat source as you put the bird in the fryer. Residential fires are also much more likely during this time of year. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between 2011 and 2013, an estimated 2,100 residential building fires were reported to local fire departments on Thanksgiving Day. Dozens of people are injured during these fires while thousands of dollars in property damage is reported.
Whether it’s prepping food or carving the turkey, cuts are all too common. Make sure you’re focusing on the task at hand and take your time. You’re more likely to be injured if you’re in a hurry. Additionally, use a sharp knife and keep your cutting board secure. Lastly, always make sure any sharp knives or utensils are out of the reach of small children.
If you’re headed out to dinner for Thanksgiving, make sure your food is properly cooked before you eat it. If the food does not taste or smell right, do not consume it. Restaurants have an obligation to serve food that is right to eat. If you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you use a thermometer to properly test the temperature and ensure all food is properly cooked.
While not an injury itself, consuming too much alcohol can be the cause of these injuries. In 2016, half the fatal crashes in Arizona during Thanksgiving were alcohol-related. Cuts and burns can also occur if too much alcohol is consumed. Be responsible when you drink, and never drink and drive. If you are hosting a get-together and serving alcohol, do not overserve guests, and never let anyone who is intoxicated drive home. You may even want to consider having local taxi company phone numbers available or calling Uber or Lift for your guests.
Be careful this Thanksgiving so that you can spend time with the ones you love most. If you’ve been injured this Thanksgiving due to another person’s carelessness or due to negligence by a business, give us a call.