12/20/2014 05:00 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST

Home safety tips for the holidays

The holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends, enjoy good food and share in the festive spirit. It is also a time when everyone needs to be a little more aware of the basic safety rules around the home, especially with so many holiday distractions.

“This is the season for injury, so make sure your snow and ice is promptly cleared around the house and you are engaging in safe practices around the home," says the Canada Safety Council's Lynn Lau.

The Canada Safety Council is an independent organization dedicated to raising awareness about safety. As the holiday season begins, the CSC advises that there are many hazards around the house, and the best way to avoid injury is to eliminate obvious sources of risk. (Watch the video here.)

Practise safe food handling

Food can be an invisible source of danger. An easy way to avoid food-borne illness is to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before serving them.

Avoid cross-contamination of prepared food with raw food. There’s no need to rinse poultry before cooking, for example — that just splashes germs everywhere. Use a paper towel to blot dry your bird.

Use a meat thermometer to ensure you’re cooking meat to the right temperature.

Prevent falls

Winter weather is another source of risk. Ensure walks are promptly cleared of snow and ice. Purchase and use plenty of sand/salt for the task.

Mind the ladder while you decorate and move items to and from storage. Use ladders on dry, sturdy, flat surfaces and maintain your centre of balance. Avoid storing bulky, heavy items up high.

Keep hallways and stairs well-lit and free of clutter.

Don’t get burned in the kitchen

There can be lots of distractions during the holidays. Don’t leave grilling, frying or broiling unattended.

Keep cooking surfaces clutter-free.

Mind the kids

Amid the holiday chaos, make sure there's clear communication about who’s supervising children and when.

If you have very small children, avoid glass ornaments and small ornaments that could posed choking hazards. Buy gifts that are age-appropriate.

And if there are small children around, remember that guests’ purses and bags can contain potentially hazardous items and medications. Make sure they're kept out of reach of curious youngsters.

Socialize responsibly

Hosting? Have a good selection of non-alcoholic beverages on hand.

Make sure everyone has a safe route home.