Thanksgiving is almost here and across the country, Americans are gearing up for one of the most spectacular feasts of the year. Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings family and friends together to share good food, conversation, and laughter. In the midst of all this festive activity, it’s important to remember that there are health hazards associated with the holiday, including an increased chance of food poisoning, kitchen fires, and travel incidents.
Taking just a few minutes to read these Thanksgiving safety tips could mean the difference between enjoying the holiday and having a turkey dinner end in disaster.
Following these food safety tips can keep any Thanksgiving meal safe from bacteria and keep your family and friends from getting sick:
- Safely cooking a turkey starts with correctly defrosting it; place your bird on a tray or pan to catch any juices and keep it refrigerated until it’s ready to cook.
- A 20-pound frozen turkey can take up to five days to thaw out so plan ahead.
- Turkeys need to be cooked to an internal temperate of 165 °F.
- Leftovers need to be refrigerated within two hours after serving.
The average number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving is triple that of a normal day. Here a few simple ways to avoid fires:
- “Stand by your pan” when cooking. Never leave food, grease, or oils cooking on the stovetop unattended.
- Pot holders, oven mitts, food wrappers, and other things that can catch fire should be kept away from the stove.
- Children should also be kept away from hot stoves and paid particular attention to when they are in the kitchen.
- Facing pot handles towards the rear of the stove can save them from being knocked over and scalding people nearby.
- Long sleeves and loose clothing should be avoided while cooking as it can easily catch fire.
Thanksgiving Travel Safety
The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and with all the excitement travelers can become more focused on celebrations than getting to their destination as safely as possible. Following these travel tips will keep everyone safe on the road and in the air:
- An emergency road kit is important to have in case of a breakdown or accident.
- Ideally, travel outside of the heaviest days to avoid congestion – which are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward.
- Get your car road-ready and start your trip with a full tank of gas.
- Don’t be distracted. It’s illegal to text and drive in Massachusetts and drivers who text and drive are 23 times more likely to get into a crash than those who don’t.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- At airports, remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons.
- Food items in your carry-on luggage must be in clear plastic bags and less than 3.4 ounces.
- Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year at airports; packing smartly will help security lines move along quickly.