You may have seen the influx of red and pink boxes of chocolates lining the grocery store aisles, along with an army of stuffed animals and oversized cards. Book those dinner reservations, stock up on romantic candles and pick a nice pinot–it is nearly Valentine’s Day.
Though it may not seem especially dangerous, there are many important Valentine’s Day safety tips you may want to add to your date plans come February 14.
Valentine’s Day Safety Tips to Add to Your Date Plans
- Candlelight: Sure, it is romantic to light the room with the warm, flickering flame of candles or oil lamps, but do so with extreme caution. Never leave an open flame unattended, ensure that all flames are safely placed away from flammable fabrics and are not directly under objects that may catch fire.
If placed on a dinner table, keep candles centered safely away from the edge and watch your arms and sleeves when reaching over the table.
- Alcohol: Another holiday, another excuse to have an extra glass or two of that adult beverage than you normally might. As we have cautioned countless times, please enjoy alcoholic beverages responsibly. Though you may want to enjoy a romantic bottle of wine with the one you love, do the right thing by ensuring neither of you drive afterward.
Drinking and driving, even if “only tipsy”, lowers a driver’s reaction time and judgement. Getting behind the wheel after drinking not only puts the driver at risk, but everyone else who is on the road, including pedestrians and cyclists. Never make the selfish decision to drink and drive, especially considering a ride share service or taxi is only an app or call away.
- Pet Protection: Dogs may be man’s best friend, but Fido (as well as cats) can be a bit hard to handle with Valentine’s Day festivities in full swing. Chocolate, alcohol, coffee and many other foods can be especially dangerous for your pets. Be sure to keep you boxed chocolates safely stored away from your dog or cat, clean up spilled alcohol immediately and do not leave coffee or tea unattended. Curiosity can quite literally kill your dog or cat.
- Food Safety: A common Valentine’s Day date plan is to forego the long wait times of restaurants for a home-cooked meal. Though a fantastic way to show one’s affection, cooking must be done with safety in mind. Before all else, wash hands with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds to fully kill germs picked up from the likes of cell phones and door knobs.
When cooking raw meats, be sure to do so based on the recommended cooking times and temperatures necessary to kill food-borne germs. Never utilize cooking utensils or cutting boards used on raw meat without first fully cleaning them with soap and water. Also, do not forget to thoroughly wash hands and all surfaces that may have come in contact with raw meat. Cross contamination is a very real risk.After cooking, make sure to do a full clean up, looking for potential spills that could easily lead to a slip and fall. So often, soap or oil will accidentally leak onto a tile floor, leading to a very serious risk of injury.
- Gifting: Some love going all out for their valentine, buying lavish gifts on top of the usual candies and flowers. Unfortunately, gift-giving holidays are also prime opportunities for thieves to strike. Protect yourself by never leaving gift bags or boxes near windows or in cars, where they are easily visible to passersby.
Even electronics or jewelry boxes placed outside for garbage pick up can make your home a prime target for burglary. Break down large boxes and keep all garbage hidden in closed garbage cans.
Though Valentine’s Day safety may seem secondary to setting a romantic mood for that special someone, being smart about everything from cooking to responsible drinking. Never let a holiday become an excuse to bypass the safety standards you keep throughout the year. After all, there is nothing romantic about the risk of injury or illness when trying to show your valentine a good time.