Safety tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

For most of us, Thanksgiving is about food, family and celebration. However, keeping children safe from bubbling pots, sharp knives, and other household dangers is a major concern for most parents during this festive time of year. With this in mind, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has issued the following tips for a safe, happy Thanksgiving:

If you are deep frying a turkey, make sure it is kept outside and away from walls, fences, and other structures.

Do not deep fry a frozen turkey. Just imagine if you place water onto a hot frying pan filled with oil, the hot oil will immediately splash onto your skin and causing a burn. Water and oil simply do not mix.

If children are around the kitchen, make sure to utilize the farthest burner and face handles of pots and pans inward, away from their reach.

Avoid loose clothing and wearing long sleeves while cooking. Also, while dinner is on the table, make sure the mats are unreachable to young children.

Avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. Wash cutting boards, plates and knives immediately after cutting any raw meats.

Choking accounts for many U.S. deaths each year. The universal sign of a choking person is when the person instinctively grabs at the throat, panics, and may wheeze or gasp for breath. If a person can cough, there is a partial blockage of the airway, which normally can be resolved by forcefully coughing.

The American Red Cross suggests the following tips for conscious and unconscious chocking individuals:

  • For back blows, position yourself behind the person. Provide support by placing one arm diagonally across the chest and lean the person forward. Strike the person on the back between the shoulder blades with the heel of your other hand.
  • For abdominal thrust, stand or kneel behind the person and wrap your arms around his or her waist. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side against the middle of the victim’s abdomen, just above the navel and below the lower tip of the breastbone. Grab your fist with your other hand and give quick inward and upward thrusts into the abdomen.
  • Repeat this until the object becomes dislodged or the person becomes unconscious. Unconscious choking requires more in-depth care. To view or enroll yourself in an American Red Cross First Aid and CPR course, visit

Follow these tips, from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Talkin’ Turkey. If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice. Sage many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough. Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake. If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing. A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong. While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for a while, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.