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Tips for Hosting Safe Holiday Parties

December 6, 2011

Everyone loves a holiday party; friends and family, good food and drinks, laughter and cheer. Hosting a great holiday party takes a lot of planning, and not just when it comes to the perfect menu and the beautiful holiday décor. Making certain that your home is safe and that you are a responsible host should be on the party preparation list as well. Make it easy to stay safe and avoid a home insurance claim with this holiday party host safety checklist.

Clear the snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks. The last thing you want is your guests slipping and injuring themselves before they even get to your front door. The day of the party inspect your driveway and sidewalk for patches of ice and clear away any new snowfall. Sprinkling some salt or sand over walkways and driveways will help both cars and people gain traction and make the approach to your home safe. Don’t forget the front porch; steps can be especially hard to navigate when they are slippery.

Keep your holiday lighting safe. Make sure that all your beautiful holiday lights are safe. Keep extension cords out of the way and secured. Although the glitter of holiday lights is beautiful against a dark background, it’s safe to keep your house well lit so people approaching can see where they are walking and you can avoid a potential home insurance claim. Turn on your porch lights to welcome them, and consider installing lighting along the driveway as well – solar lights work wonderfully as a simple way to light a path.

Watch for water on floors. People entering the house with snowy boots will soon leave puddles behind as the snow melts. Keep a towel by the door to clean up any puddles of melted snow and make sure that no one will slip and fall. Ask everyone to take their boots off on an entrance rug if possible where the wetness won’t become a danger.

Make your home child-safe. If you don’t have kids but have some attending your party, then you will want to do some basic child-proofing around the house. No one expects you to spend a fortune on safety items, but there are some simple things you can do. Look for small objects that a baby might choke on and clear them from the floor or low tables. Ensure medications and cleaning products are kept out of reach, and close the doors to bedrooms or unsafe areas like laundry rooms.

Use caution with candles and fireplaces. Candlelight is beautiful during the holidays and so is a crackling fire to keep everyone warm. But be very cautious about how you enjoy the firelight. Keep candles in a safe place where they will not be tipped over and consider replacing open flames with electric candles instead. Short, wide candles are less likely to be tipped over than tall taper candles. Keep fireplace screens closed and clear the area surrounding the fireplace of any flammable items. Remind children to stay away from the fireplace and to avoid touching candles.

Ensure that your guests drive home sober. As the host of the party, you have a responsibility to make certain no one leaves your home intoxicated and gets behind the wheel of a car. Ask ahead of time who plans to be the designated driver in each group so you will know who is expected to stay sober. Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys if necessary. During the holidays there are a number of options for getting home safely including taxis, public transportation and even ride services designed just for this situation. Keep the phone numbers handy. Consider staying sober yourself so that you can remain responsible and in control of the situation – and offer your couch as an alternative when all else fails.

No one wants their fabulous holiday party ruined by an accident, either at your home or after your guests have left. A good host provides more than fun and refreshments; providing a safe place for guests of all ages to celebrate the holidays and ensuring everyone gets home safely are necessities as well. Not only will you throw a party that is remembered only for fun and holiday cheer, you will also avoid a potential liability claim that could increase your insurance rate.

It doesn’t take long to go over your house inside and out and make sure you haven’t missed any potential dangers. So take the time to accident-proof your home and your party, and head into the holidays ready to relax and enjoy all of the good times they bring.