Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Holiday safety tips from CHOP’s Poison Control Center

Keep these food safety, travel, and fire prevention tips in mind over the holidays!

The end of the year is filled with celebrations that revolve around food and it is hard not to be hungry just thinking about it! A delicious, home-cooked meal is the centerpiece of most celebrations, when families and friends come together to reconnect and exchange gifts. Hopefully, these tips below will provide information so that you, your family and friends, and food can all work together to make a wonderful holiday feast.

Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning

  1. To keep your food safe before and after your holiday meal, make sure the temperature of the refrigerator is 40°F and the freezer is 0°F, checking daily with an appliance thermometer.

  2. Rinse and clean fruits and vegetables by scrubbing with a produce brush and cold water.

  3. Keep raw foods that are going to be cooked (meats, eggs and other ingredients) away from foods that are going to be served raw (vegetables, fruits and other finger-foods).

  4. Using soap and water, wash knives, cutting boards, and other dishes/utensils whenever switching from one food to another.

  5. Stuffing should be mixed (wet and dry ingredients) right before putting it in the turkey, which should be done immediately before the turkey is going to be put in the oven. Cooking the stuffing in a casserole dish is preferred to inside a turkey.

  6. Use a cooking thermometer to cook the turkey and stuffing to an internal temperature of 165°F. Do not rely on color or smell. When in doubt, throw it out.

  7. Freezing the turkey keeps it safe for the longest time, and refrigerating it keeps it safe for 1-2 days.

  8. Appropriately thawing, cleaning, separating, and cooking the turkey, and chilling the leftovers, are essential too for the safest and tastiest meal. Handle with care.

Fire Prevention Tips

  1. Checking smoke detectors will allow a fire alarm to actively do its job throughout the day.

  2. Cooking oil, wrappings, and other items that can catch on fire are best kept far away from the cooking areas when not in use, and watched constantly while in use near a flame.

  3. To avoid kitchen accidents and fires, it is best if children are kept out of the kitchen and if the people in charge of the cooking wear tightly-fitted clothing.

  4. An all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby will help if a fire does start.

Travel Tips

  1. The days leading up to the holiday tends to be the busiest day for traveling

  2. To improve driving safety:

  3. Wear a seatbelt and drive the speed limit.

  4. Check mirrors and blind spots, and use the turn signal.

  5. Keep both hands on the wheel and look both ways at every intersection.

  6. Prepare the car for the drive, have a designated driver, drive carefully, and focus on the road to further a great holiday experience.

On behalf of everyone here at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Poison Control Center, Happy Holidays! Our services are always available 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.

Have a question for the Healthy Kids panel? Ask it here. Read more from the Healthy Kids blog »