Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Families warned of gravy dangers

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The advice is aimed at ensuring families stay safe at Christmas

Ministers are warning about the dangers of gravy "exploding" in microwaves as they seek to cut the 80,000 accidents which happen in homes each Christmas.

A safety leaflet also warns of "tipsy guests crashing to the floor when they miss their seat at the dinner table".

About 150,000 of the Advent calendar-style leaflets are being handed out.

Minister Delyth Morgan said the aim was to remind people "of the small but important things parents can do" to avoid "a trip to the hospital".

The children's minister added: "The leaflet we've produced this Christmas will act as a reminder of the small but important things parents can do around the home to make sure Christmas is a time for fun and laughter, not tears."

The leaflet - called 'Tis the Season to be Careful - gives advice such as not leaving dregs of alcohol in glasses and also tells parents to be careful with candles and games with small pieces.

With a little more care and forward planning, most accidents and the resulting trips to A&E could be avoided
Sheila Merrill, Rospa

And it also warns that injuries in people's homes at Christmas can include people cutting themselves with knives in the rush to open presents and children riding new bikes into walls.

It also warns of "gravy exploding in microwave ovens, hot fat spilled on the cook trying to grapple with a big turkey and nasty cuts when chopping piles of vegetables".

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa), 1,000 out of the 80,000 people who head to hospital at Christmas do so after accidents with Christmas trees, with the same number hurt by trimmings or when decorating their homes.

Sheila Merrill, home safety manager for England at Rospa, said: "One of the good things about Christmas is that there are typically more people around to supervise the children, and, with a little more care and forward planning, most accidents and the resulting trips to A&E could be avoided."

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Guardian Unlimited Ed Balls issues Christmas hazard leaflets - 28 hrs ago
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