Thanksgiving Safety


Written by Douglas P. Skinner MPA NRP NCEE


If you are cooking for a big gathering at your home or traveling to a holiday family reunion, or out for dinner, remember to make safety a priority this Thanksgiving.

Food Safety

The CDC offers four simple tips for Thanksgiving safety, for the home chef in charge of the big meal:

  • Thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator in a container, in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes), or in the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.
  • Prevent the spread of bacteria by handling your turkey the right way. Click here for the four steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill. (CDC, 2019)
  • Serving stuffing at your holiday table? Cooking stuffing separately from the turkey in a casserole dish makes it easy to be sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, put the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking.
  • Cook that big bird thoroughly! Use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Even if your turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, you should still use a food thermometer to check that it is safely cooked. (ASHI, 2019)

thanksgiving safety

Thanksgiving Safety Travel Tips

For those choosing the highway for their holiday travel, AAA reminds drivers to: (AAA, 2019)

  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
  • If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
  • Have roadside assistance contact information on hand.
  • In case of an emergency, always keep a cell phone and charger with you.

Traveling above the clouds? Travel + Leisure advises the smart passenger to: (Travel and Leisure, 2019)

  • Pay attention to the flight attendants during the safety briefing and read the safety briefing card. It could save your life in an emergency.
  • Leave hazardous materials at home – Whether for checked bags or carry-ons, check the FAA’s complete list of hazardous items before you leave for the airport. (FAA, 2019)
  • When you’re in your seat, keep the seatbelt fastened. It’s a simple step that will keep you safe in the event of unexpected turbulence (and it’s often unexpected).
  • If you’re flying with a young child in your lap, don’t expect to be able to protect them in the event of rough air—let alone an emergency. The FAA has a video that shows how to install a child safety seat on a plane. (FAA, 2019)

thanksgiving safety

Pet Safety for Thanksgiving

  • Talking’ Turkey: If you decide to feed your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Do not give your pet the left-over carcass–the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.
  • No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.
  • Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
  • A Feast Fit for a King: While your family enjoys a special meal, give your cat and dog a small feast of their own. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for a while, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy. (ASPCA, 2019)

A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best to keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

safe holiday


SCS Safety Health and Security (SCS) wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Holiday.



SCS Safety Health & Security Associates LLC works with businesses to help keep their employees safe, lower workers compensation and fleet / auto insurance policy premiums.  In addition, they help to get a company safety compliant by conducting job site safety inspections, developing written safety programs, and conducting safety meetings.   In addition, they offer OSHA 10 and 30 hr. courses, for the construction industry.  If your employees need CPR/AED, Basic First Aid, and or Bloodborne Pathogen certification, they can handle that too.  Check out their monthly CPR/AED and Basic First Aid Classes in the Leesburg VA area.



AAA, (2019), American Automobile Association,

ASHI, (2019). American Safety and Health Institute,

ASPCA, (2019), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

CDC, (2019), Four Steps to Food Safety,

FAA, (2019). Package Safe for Passengers,

Travel and Leisure, (2019), Tips for Staying Safe When you Fly This Holiday Season,