Thanksgiving is arguably one of the best holidays of the year for three specific reasons: Friends, Football and FOOD! If you are not careful, though, Thanksgiving can turn into one of the most dangerous holidays. Every year people are rushed to the emergency room for a variety of cooking related injuries. The staff at Gresham SportsCare and Armworks were polled, and the following safety tips were suggested as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast.
- Plan Ahead. Know the extent and timing of your menu. If things can be done a day or two in advance, get them done and out of the way. Mistakes happen when you rush.
- Lifting Mechanics. When putting the 20-pound turkey in the oven, break up your movements into multiple steps. Rather than lifting and turning in one motion, LIFT the bird, TURN your feet, REPOSITION your grip (place the bird on the open oven door), then PLACE the tray on the oven rack. Moving too fast or without precision can stress your shoulders or back, leading to injury.
- Shoe Selection. There are two parts to this – comfort and safety. If you will be cooking for hours on end, make sure your shoes are built for the long haul. Your feet and low back will thank you. Make sure you also choose a shoe with a non-slip sole. When carrying heavy, hot, or sharp objects, having safe, secure footing is an easy injury prevention tactic.
- Peelers. These little gadgets are very unassuming and dangerous. Use with care.
- Clean Workspace. When cutting, keep your surface clean and dry of any liquids. It is a good idea to put a kitchen towel under your cutting board to keep it from shifting.
- Attention. Accidents occur when you are distracted. If you cannot keep focused, take mental breaks, and walk away from the kitchen. Make sure burners are off, obviously.
- Ergonomics. Stand on a soft surface if you will be in one spot for an extended period. Change positions frequently to avoid fatigue. Do not slouch or compromise posture. Rest when needed.
- Sobriety. Alcohol is fine, too much alcohol is dangerous. Limit alcohol consumption when cooking.
- FIRE! Keep an extinguisher on hand while cooking. Don’t already have one? This is a good time to add one to your home safety equipment. Deep frying a turkey? This is a MUST!
- Knives. Sharp knives are better than dull. If you cut yourself, a sharp knife creates a nice, clean cut. When using dull knives, you are putting additional pressure into the cut, which could create a deeper, more severe injury. Electric cutters work great when carving.
- Little Helpers. Keep small kids out of the kitchen while cooking. Little curious, wandering hands will find the hot surfaces and sharp blades.
- Pot Handles. When cooking on the stovetop, make sure your pot handles are turned in. Having handles hang over the edge creates opportunity for the pot to be knocked off, burning yourself or bystanders with the contents. Also, make sure to use oven mitts when handling hot pots.
- Dish Washing. Use caution when washing grandma’s china. These fancy dishes get very slippery when soap is applied. If you drop it and have no chance in catching it, get out of the way to avoid cuts. Same rules apply to knives.
We hope these tips help you avoid injury this Thanksgiving. The best piece of advice we can give you this year is to enjoy yourselves. In a year full of chaos and uncertainty, reflect on and give thanks for the good you did experience. We have enjoyed working another year with you and look forward to more amazing patients to walk through our doors. If you need to start physical or hand therapy, please give us a call or schedule an appointment online.
Happy Thanksgiving from SportsCare and Armworks!