ENJOY the festive season but make it a safe one too, that’s the message from accident prevention experts, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), ahead of the Christmas chaos.

NHS figures show that overall total hospital admissions for all causes were up last year, with more than half a million emergency admissions – the equivalent to the population of Edinburgh requiring urgent treatment. 

Jim Oram, Public Health Project Officer at RoSPA advises reducing accident risk to avoid spending hours in overcrowded accident and emergency departments.

He said: “It is easy to get caught up in the excitement during the festive period, but having more people in the home can add to the risks.

“With some forward planning and awareness of potential hazards, your festive season can be safe and happy for everyone.”  

RoSPA has issued its top tips to stay safe this festive season.   

Reduce the risk of a fall

In the UK, 7,229 patients were admitted to hospital last December with hip fractures, up 20 per cent on the year before. 

Keep yourself and loved ones safe by keeping the floor, stairs and walkways clear, and clean up any spillages as soon as you can. 

And if the weather takes an icy turn, grit the paths and walkways outside. Only purchase gifts from reputable traders

When buying presents, opt for reputable retailers, especially when shopping online. 

If a trader does not have a high street presence in the UK, check online reviews before buying.  Online sellers should have a UK address listed on their website.

Look for the CE, UKCA, UKNI, and Lion marks on toys, and check for age-appropriateness and warnings. 

Button batteries in toys should always be inside a lockable compartment, and any magnets used in toys should be secure to avoid ingestion. Prepare for young visitors

There are some fantastically fun novelty decorations out at this time of year, but it is important to remember these are not toys and therefore do not have to comply with toy safety regulations. 

If you have a young family or have children visiting, always be mindful of decorations they could put into their mouths. 

Some decorations are particularly risky, such as ones with insecure button batteries, ones made from glass and those with magnets inside. 

It is also worth having a check that cleaning products, vapes and medications are kept out of reach, and blind cords have the appropriate safety fixtures.  

Think fire safety

Last year there were nearly 200,000 house fires in the UK alone, so taking fire safety seriously is key. Use electrical candles over real flames, keep decorations and cards away from heat sources, replace old Christmas lights and try not to leave anything plugged in overnight. 

Maximise kitchen safety

It is a familiar scene – the chef cooking the roasties while helpers ferry plates and children run around high on the festivities of the day. 

While everyone should enjoy the atmosphere, it is best to keep spirits high by avoiding accidents. 

Allow ample time to avoid accidents from rushing and where possible, keep non-helpers out of the kitchen. 

Keep hot crockery and drinks out of reach

Burns are the fourth common form of trauma worldwide, after road traffic collisions, falls and interpersonal violence, with around half of those affected being children. 

With a higher frequency of hot drinks, food, and cooked edibles around, be mindful to keep hot pans, plates and drinks out of reach.