Smiley & Smiley, LLP

Wishing you safe household celebrations this year: Part I

Whether it is your first time hosting a holiday celebration in your home or your 50th time, chances are you have some anxiety about keeping your guests both safe and entertained during the festivities. Stories abound in nearly every family and circle of friends about "the time when..." a favorite uncle accidentally set a fire in the kitchen or a close friend's wife hung decorations that injured someone. Liability for any injuries to your guests that result from these kinds of mishaps are most likely categorized as premises liability.

It is unlikely that your own family or friends will take you to court for any injuries they sustain at your holiday celebration. Nevertheless, it is important to keep your guests safe for a myriad of reasons. So what should you look out for in these final hours before your Christmas, general holiday and New Year's celebrations begin?

First, do not prioritize your decorating scheme by the order: beauty, comfort, safety. As a childhood cliché holds: safety first. What you must look out for safety-wise will be determined by the age, health and special needs of your guests. If you will be hosting any children, ill or disabled persons or elderly guests, you will need to be especially vigilant in attending to any safety hazards that might uniquely affect them.

What might these special considerations look like specifically and what else do you need to keep in mind for a safe week of holiday celebrations? Please check back in later today as we continue our discussion.

Source: New York Times, "Safety First, Then Mistletoe, Is Byword for the Holidays," Alina Tugend, Dec. 14, 2012

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