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8 tips for a safe and healthy holiday season

Photos: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto

From home decorating and road trips to baking cookies and getting ready for guests, the holidays can be busy!

Here are eight ways to help make them safe and healthy.


Practice fire safety

Are your holiday lights in danger of overloading your electrical outlets? And would you believe that more than 40% of home fires caused by holiday decorations happen because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source? It’s true, the National Fire Protection Association says, adding that one-third of those fires are started by candles. To make your holiday decor safer:

  • Pick decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Consider using flameless candles.
  • Keep lit candles away from children, pets and decorations.
  • Replace string lights that show signs of wear or have broken cords or bulbs.
  • Place trees at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat.
  • Make sure artificial trees are labeled “fire resistant.”
  • Don’t let live trees dry out; water them often.
  • Place a screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Blow out candles and turn off electric decorations when you go to bed.

Shop safe

If you’ll be gift-shopping in stores instead of online this year, here are things you can do to help keep your experience safe:

  • Shop during daylight hours, if possible, and try not to shop alone.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash or other valuables.
  • Always park in a well-lit area.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings. If you see people loitering around garages, parking lots or outside stores, look for somewhere else to park.
  • Lock your vehicle and close its windows, even if you plan to be gone for only a few minutes.
  • Keep packages, gifts and valuables locked in the trunk or in a secure compartment where they can’t be seen.
  • Make sure your purse, bags and other items stay within your sight at all times.
  • Carry your keys in your hand when heading to your vehicle.
  • Look around and inside the vehicle before getting in. Watch for any suspicious people, vehicles or situations. If you feel unsafe, go back inside and call your local law enforcement agency.

Cook up kitchen safety

Baking cookies, planning a traditional family feast ... so much of our time can be spent in the kitchen this time of year. But cooking is the leading cause of residential fires. Help prevent fires and burns with these cooking tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Fires can start when the stove heat is too high. If you see smoke or grease starts to boil, turn off the burner.
  • Don’t cook while tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs – you need to be awake and alert.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll up long sleeves. You don’t want them catching on fire.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so you don’t bump them or tip them over.
  • Place dish towels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains away from flames.
  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from hot stoves.

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