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Facts and figures for Thanksgiving 2021

Think safety first during the holidays

Christmas Tree on Fire CPSCUnsafe toys, cooking fires, decorating, holiday trees, and candles lead to thousands of injuries and deaths each year.

Take safety precautions to avoid potential dangers, and possible emergency room visits, associated with these common holiday items.

“Whether you’re shopping for gifts online or gathering for in-person or virtual holiday celebrations, it is important that everyone takes steps to keep holiday festivities safer,” said Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC offers the following data and tips on holiday safety:

Toys

With supply-chain delays and global shipping issues, there may be toy shortages this year. This could lead anxious consumers to buy from unscrupulous people who sell dangerous or counterfeit products.

  • Toy-related injuries and deaths continue to impact thousands of children in the United States each year: CPSC reports that in 2020, there were nearly 150,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and nine deaths among children ages 14 and younger. Most of these deaths were associated with choking on small toy parts.
  • Nonmotorized scooters account for 21 percent of all toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries: The number of injuries increased 17 percent in fiscal year 2021, from 35,600 scooter injuries reported in 2020, to 41,700 injuries reported in 2021. 

Toy safety tips

  • Follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging and choose toys that match each child's interests and abilities.
  • Get safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys – and make sure that children use them every time. 
  • Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3 and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8. 

Cooking

As people cook Thanksgiving dinner, bake holiday treats, and share meals with family and friends, it’s important to take safety precautions to avoid dangerous residential fires.

  • Cooking fires remain the No. 1 cause of residential fires. There are about 360,000 home fires every year, leading to about 2,400 deaths and nearly 10,400 injuries each year.
  • An average of 1,700 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day every year, more than three times the average number of cooking fires on any other day of the year.
  • Turkey fryers are risky. Since 1998, there were 222 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers, resulting in 83 injuries and $9.7 million in property loss.

Cooking safety tips

  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove.
  • Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home. 

Decorating

Dry Christmas trees, burning candles, and holiday lights can pose hazards if not used properly. 

  • On average, there are about 160 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with almost half of the incidents involving falls. In 2019, about 14,800 people were treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries.
  • Dry Christmas trees and unattended candles can lead to dangerous fires. From 2016 to 2018, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires in November and December each year, resulting in 30 deaths, 180 injuries, and nearly $56 million in property loss per year.

Holiday decorating tips

  • Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water and look for the “Fire Resistant” label when buying an artificial tree.
  • Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow them out before leaving the room.

Online shopping

Online shopping is steadily on the rise. More than 263 million Americans shop online, about 80 percent of the population.

Online shopping tips

  • Always buy from stores and online retailers you know and trust.
  • Scrutinize the product, packaging, and label. If the price seems too good to be true, this could be a sign that the product is counterfeit.
  • Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization and the manufacturer’s label on electrical products.
  • Look at the terms of sale before you buy.
  • Pay by credit card because you’ll have more protections.

Visit CPSC’s Holiday Safety Information Center for more holiday safety tips.

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