5 Ways to Stay Safe on New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration and all that revelry is an excellent way to usher in the next 365 days. It’s important to keep safety in mind, though, so that everyone can fully enjoy the festivities.

The Journal of Social Science & Medicine reports that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are two highest days of the year for deaths, and much of that can be attributed to accidents or dangerous situations taking place the night before both days. Higher numbers of injuries and emergency visits are also reported on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and the days following.

Celebrating with loved ones is what the holiday season is all about, but to avoid ending the party on a bad note, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from common holiday pitfalls. Take a look at some simple ways you can stay safe and still have fun while ringing in the New Year right:

Drink responsibly.

This is not just a reference to how much alcohol you actually consume. Be sure to keep an eye on your drinks at all times – men and women can both fall victim to having their drinks drugged. Arrange for transportation to pick you up from and drop you back off at home, or plan to spend the night at the location of the party. It’s best to avoid driving when possible on New Year’s Eve, because even if you haven’t had much to drink, there will be other drunk drivers behind the wheel. During the holiday season, fatalities from drunk driving are two to three times higher than the rest of the year.

Avoid fireworks (and guns).

Leave the fireworks displays to the professionals and just sit back and enjoy them. In some states, fireworks are illegal without a special license and for good reason – in the wee hours of the morning on January 1 2014, 11,000 people sustained injuries from fireworks and 8 people died. Not only could they harm you, but fireworks could also get out of hand, start a fire, and harm your property, too. Watch the fireworks displays on TV or from a safe distance and avoid lighting them off yourself. The same goes for firearms. Would you go outside and randomly shoot off a gun any other time of year? Probably not and it’s not a good idea on New Year’s Eve either.

Be alert.

If you decide to go out to ring in the New Year, be aware of your surroundings. Criminals know that people will be out partying and not paying attention to their drinks, their smartphones, and their purses/wallets. Don’t be an easy target. Keep your possessions secure, walk in heavily populated areas and never go anywhere alone.

Pay attention to what you eat.

No, it’s not time to kick off your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight just yet – but you can avoid illness and injury by recognizing that foods pose a danger during the holiday celebrations. As a general rule, avoid dairy-based products sitting out on a buffet line unless you know they’ve been unrefrigerated for an hour or less. When preparing food, keep raw poultry and meats away from vegetables and other items that will not be cooked.

Think about your pets.

The added noise and activity of New Year’s Eve can be very stressful to pets, especially those who have shown anxiety in the past when hearing sounds like fireworks or guns. Double check that your outside gates are secure and that your pets are wearing ID tags. Use care when opening doors and windows so pets do not escape. If you know a particular pet will have a hard time with the extra stressors of the night, ask your veterinarian for an anti-anxiety medication.

New Year’s Eve may seem like a time to just let loose and be carefree, but it’s actually more imperative than normal to be vigilant about your health and safety. Have fun, but be aware of what could hurt you and how to avoid it.

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