Summer’s here! The stage is set for a festive season of fun, cheer . . . and possibly a minor emergency or two. From falling off a new Christmas bike to burns from camp side cooking, to protecting your home while you holiday, read on for our guide to celebrating safely this season.



St John Ambulance (Qld) volunteer Liz Coffey knows the potential risks and infections associated with holidaying over the Christmas period. Liz says it’s important for all holiday makers, particularly if you’re camping or fishing, to know the correct first aid treatment to increase healing time as well as avoid infection and pain. Because who wants to spend their hard-earned break watching everyone else have fun?


shutterstock_196494266Baby, You’re Burning

Unfortunately summer in Australia still means sunburn for some unsuspecting holiday makers. If you’ve neglected to slip, slop, slap and play in the shade, or you’ve burned yourself cooking up a storm, you’ll need a treatment plan.


Liz says, “All burns should be treated by running the area under cool water (not icy) from a tap or hose for 20 minutes to allow the burned skin layers to cool.” Covering the area with a cool moist dressing and ensuring you stay hydrated will lessen the effects of sunburn.


“Burns with blisters need to be covered with a non-stick dressing and should not be pricked or broken,” Liz says, and do not be tempted to cover the burn with creams or oils (which can do more harm than good).


The Heat Is On

Our littlies are particularly susceptible to heat exhaustion, and can be too busy playing to register that they are too hot for comfort. “Heat stress can occur within minutes and lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal,” Liz warns.


“On hot days, ensure you drink plenty of water, wear loose clothing, have a cool bath or shower and ensure your home is ventilated with a fan or air-conditioning,” she recommends.


“If the skin is hot, dry and has lost the capability to sweat, you need to call 000 immediately and begin to loosen tight clothing to help cool down,” she says.


Once Bitten . . .

Whether camping or taking a trek through our gorgeous hinterland, the potential for bites – of the snake and spider kind – should be taken seriously.

On snake bites, Liz says all bites should be treated as serious until medical aid arrives, regardless of what type of snake you think has done the damage.

Dial 000 and apply a pressure immobilisation bandage immediately, she says. “Apply the bandage from ‘tip to top’ (tips of fingers or toes to the top of limb) firmly around the entire limb, ensuring there are no gaps.”

And don’t move! Liz says it’s vital to remain still – your whole body, not just the injured limb – to delay the venom moving throughout your system.

“Incorrect myths with snake bites include applying a tourniquet, cutting the wound, sucking the venom or attempting to catch the snake, which should all be avoided,” she warns.

Spider bite? Hit the esky. Liz says most spider bites are treated with ice in the first instance. “Red back, brown recluse, white tail and other small ‘creepy crawly spiders’ all require ice treatment initially and if the person feels unwell or is ill, medical aid needs to be called,” she says.

“Bites from funnel web and mouse spiders require immediate treatment with a pressure immobilisation bandage and calling 000.”


You’re Packing

The best tip is to pack a well-stocked first aid kit in your home, car or holiday gear, and to check it before each trip. “Having the right equipment is just as important as knowing what to do in emergencies,” says Liz.

Ensure your mobile phone is charged and if travelling to a remote location, know the UHF channels to contact in case of emergency.



Whether you’re going away or staying home, follow these tips to protect your castle this holiday season.

  • Lock and load – always lock your house, even if you are in the backyard or popping next door.
  • Keep valuables out of sight and consider how you dispose of packaging – your wheelie bins can advertise the goodies contained inside your home!
  • Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your property, collect your mail and even park in your driveway.
  • Avoid packing your car too early, or in view of possible thieves.
  • Check and fix any faulty fire alarms.
  • Christmas lights can be a fire hazard. Follow the instructions, don’t overload your power supply, and turn them off at night and when you’re not home.
  • Make sure your home insurance is up to date.



We’re blessed with an abundance of the good stuff over the holidays – from prawns and seafood to the Christmas roast, to deli meats and gorgeous seasonal produce. Don’t risk a dodgy belly from poor food handling techniques – whether you’re at home or away.

Follow the Food Safety Information Council’s tips (and check out www.foodsafety.asn.au for some awesome resources on safe food handling and cooking).

Clean your hands, cutting boards and utensils thoroughly.

Chill – refrigerate meat, poultry, dairy foods, vegetables and salad ingredients at or below 5°C.

Cook – serve hot food steaming hot – above 60°C.

Separate – keep raw and cooked foods separate, use airtight and liquid-tight containers, and ensure meat and poultry are stored at the base of your fridge/esky so they don’t leak onto other foods.


Be prepared, stay safe, and have a super summer!


Courtney Robinson

Courtney Robinson  

Courtney Robinson is a Gold Coast mum, passionate foodie, whole foods recipe creator and personal trainer certified in holistic digestive health and nutrition. Follow @athletist_ or visit athletist.com.au for recipes, workout tips and training hacks.