Get news alerts

On the menu: A safe and healthy Thanksgiving

Banner Health experts offer holiday-safety tips

PHOENIX, AZ (Nov. 22, 2021) – Banner Health experts are offering some holiday safety tips so a trip to the emergency department doesn’t have to be part of your Thanksgiving-day menu.

During Thanksgiving, Banner Health emergency departments can treat a wide range of holiday-related injuries, everything from people with serious burns after trying to deep fry turkeys to people complaining of stomach pain the day after Thanksgiving.

“We typically see burns whether it is from the oven or by touching a hot pan or whether we are using a deep-fat fryer for our turkey,’’ said Melissa Luxton, trauma prevention coordinator at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.

In fact, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association, followed by Christmas and Christmas Eve. U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, three and half times an average day, according to the association.

With COVID-19 precautions in place, there may be more smaller family gatherings, which leads to more kitchens being used, says the association.

Adding to potential dangers is the use of deep fryers for turkeys that use oil as hot as 350 degrees. Some fire departments across the country have discouraged people from using them.

“When we think of deep frying, just remember that oil and water, they don’t mix, so if you are going to fry a turkey, make sure it is completely thawed,’’ Luxton said.

“You don’t want any frozen parts because when you put that into the boiling pot, it is going to cause that oil to pop and remember you have an open flame underneath there and then you are going to have a fire.’’

“Fryers need to be located at least ten feet away from anything flammable,’’ she says. Other pointers when it comes to the location of the fryer:

  • Should be placed on a flat, even, non-wooden surface.
  • Kids and pets need to be kept away from the fryer full of boiling oil.
  • It should be in a spot where someone can watch it, even once the frying is done, since the oil can remain hot for hours. “You don’t set it out and walk away from it.’’
  • People doing the frying should wear safety goggles, thermal oven mitts and long sleeves.

If you are cooking indoors, also think about safety to prevent burns. Make sure pot handles are turned back and use the back burners as much as possible to prevent children from being accidentally burned, Luxton said.

Adults should use oven mitts instead of hot pads for more protection in dealing with hot dishes, she added.

About Banner Health

Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit


Banner Health Trauma

For further information contact us at: [email protected]