Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and gratitude, when you bring together your family and friends to appreciate what is truly important in life. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, actually.

With food and travel comes a certain amount of peril. Keep your Thanksgiving incident-free with these tips!


You thought your aunt’s weird casserole would be your biggest obstacle to avoid, but actually food prep can be the first hurdle to clear. Sharp knives and peelers can cause some nasty cuts.

Did you know sharper tools can actually be safer? It’s true. Sawing at a squash with a dull knife only increases your chances of a mishap. If you do nick a finger, apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops. Afterwards, clean the area with warm water and soap, and apply an antibiotic ointment under a sterile bandage. If the cut is especially deep or won’t stop bleeding, see a doctor!

Food Poisoning

Improperly prepared food can lead to food poisoning, and it’s no surprise that a holiday with so much emphasis on food can lead to an uptick in cases. A meat thermometer is an inexpensive way to help prevent food poisoning. Simply check your turkey frequently as it roasts to ensure that it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. According to the Mayo Clinic, roasting your bird in the oven is your safest option. Grilling and deep-frying are frowned upon, mostly because these methods increase the likelihood of the outside being cooked, but the inside not reaching a safe temperature before eating. Perhaps unsurprisingly, microwaving your turkey is also considered unwise.


When you combine multiple dishes, a hot stove, and the possibility of foods being left unattended, you increase your risk of fire. Your home should always be equipped with a fire extinguisher and a working smoke detector. Practice basic caution by not leaving cooking food unattended, and make sure pot holders and other flammable objects are at least three feet away from burners.

Now is also a good time to make sure you know where the kids are — stoves and small children do not mix!

If you or a family member do suffer a burn, hold the burned skin under cool (not cold) running water, or immerse until the pain subsides, then cover with a sterile, non-adhesive cloth or bandage (that old wives’ tale about applying butter? Save it for the rolls). Of course, if the burn is more severe (large blisters, or if the burn penetrates deeply), go see a doctor immediately.


Surprisingly, New Year’s Eve doesn’t take the prize for most auto accidents—Thanksgiving does. According to the United States Department of Transportation, almost 90 percent of travelers go over the river and through the woods over Thanksgiving weekend. That’s a lot of people on the road — 50% more than usual. Check your forecast, and prepare accordingly if road conditions have a chance of deteriorating.

And whatever you do, do not drink and drive — it can be tempting to have that extra glass of wine at dinner, but there is also a spike in drunk-driving incidents over Thanksgiving.

Finally, take an extra second and put on your seatbelt. Always.


If you and your family are traveling for Thanksgiving, now is the time to think about protecting your empty home. Robberies tend to spike over holidays. Make sure doors and windows are locked, and consider installing a timer for your lights to make it look like someone is at home. Place your mail and paper services on hold, and if you have a trustworthy neighbor, let them know to keep an eye on the place while you’re gone. And please don’t post your vacation plans on social media — you never know who’s really seeing your posts!

Most importantly, remember the things that matter. An extra ounce of caution can go a long way towards making sure your Thanksgiving is the safe, relaxing holiday that it’s meant to be. And for a little extra help protecting the things that matter, contact your Farm Bureau agent. They can help you—though not with your aunt’s casserole. You’re on your own with that one.