The Christmas and New Year’s holidays come with certain challenges – they are very fun, but can also be a little dangerous. The use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations in many homes during the holidays means more risk for fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports that one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles and that two of every five decoration fires happen because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

To prevent fire danger during the holidays, follow these tips:

  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over – and out of reach of children
  • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach from children, preferably in a locked cabinet
  • Use flameless—rather than lighted—candles near flammable objects
  • Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
  • Always use a screen on the fireplace when a fire is burning
  • Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are asleep
  • Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

Food Poisoning Is No Joke

Another area where people can run into trouble at the holidays is in the food department; keep your holidays happy by handling food safely. The website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some valuable holiday food safety tips:

  • Wash your hands frequently when handling food
  • Keep raw meat away from fresh produce
  • Use separate cutting boards, plate, and utensils for uncooked and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature
  • Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of being served
  • When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
  • Leftovers are safe for three to four days when properly refrigerated

Some Other Tips at Christmas to Keep in Mind:

  • Light up your tree – not your home
  • Be on Santa’s good list – be safe
  • Santa likes a clean chimney, so should you
  • Santa doesn’t do plaster casts
  • Christmas is best enjoyed at home, not in the hospital
  • Smoke detectors make good stocking stuffers
  • Only Santa has a magical vehicle – don’t drink and drive

Safe Gifting
Gifts and toys should inspire joy, not cause injuries. Avoid safety hazards while gifting with these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Toys are age-rated for safety, not for children’s intellect and physical ability, so be sure to choose toys in the correct age range
  • Choose toys for children under 3 that do not have small parts which could be choking hazards
  • For children under 10, avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet
  • Be cautious about toys that have button batteries or magnets, which can be harmful or fatal if swallowed
  • When giving scooters and other riding toys, give the gift of appropriate safety gear, too; helmets should be worn at all times, and they should be sized to fit
  • To find out about holiday toy safety and recalls, check the S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

The best gift you can give your family is YOU! Please be safe, and have a very happy holiday season!

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