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What You Should Know About Thanksgiving Injuries and Deaths

Red pot is on kitchen strove

Each year, Thanksgiving meals, family road trips, and unexpected fires send thousands of people to hospital emergency rooms with serious, even fatal injuries.

Beware of Thanksgiving Dangers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thanksgiving activities create dangers that can lead to severe skin burns, knife wounds, car accidents, and house fires. A festive four-day holiday that begins with excitement for family plans often ends with an unexpected trip to the hospital for emergency treatment of serious injuries.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends is a holiday tradition for millions of Americans. Whether dinner features a huge Thanksgiving turkey with traditional trimmings or a less traditional holiday meal, it’s a big part of family festivities. Unfortunately, many holiday meals are cut short by serious Thanksgiving accidents and injuries.

Making Thanksgiving dinner involves a lot of preparation such as chopping fruits and vegetables, cooking side dishes and desserts, and, of course, preparing the Thanksgiving turkey. Chopping and carving with sharp knives, cooking over a hot stove with pots of boiling water, and reaching in and out of the oven can easily lead to painful knife wounds and serious burns. A more recent tradition of deep-frying the turkey creates even greater burn risks. If the turkey is partially frozen or wet when it’s dropped in hot oil, it can quickly catch fire or explode.

Family Road Trips

Since Thanksgiving provides a long four-day weekend, it’s perfect for family road trips to visit friends and relatives. However, heavy traffic, speeding, and drunk/impaired drivers create hazards on the road.

In 2018, 385 people died in car accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday, and 35% of these deaths were caused by drunk drivers. Other contributing crash factors included speeding, drowsy driving, and defective auto parts. Each year at Thanksgiving, auto accident attorneys see a rise in car crashes that result in serious injuries and fatalities.

House Fires

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Thanksgiving day is a peak time for house fires caused by kitchen fires and burning candles. In 2017, fire departments around the country responded to an estimated 1,600 house fires.

Unattended stoves were the leading cause of cooking fires and fire deaths, while defective cooking equipment was the second leading cause. Grease fires, exploding turkey deep fryers, and overturned candles or candles placed too close to flammable fabrics were causes of Thanksgiving house fires.

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