Keep the holidays fun and safe

http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/images11/safeholidays.jpg
Can you guess what’s wrong in this picture?

The holiday season brings many joys: family gatherings, entertaining and festive decorations. However, sometimes the holiday season also brings unexpected risks into your home and workplace.

Here are a few tips to help make your holidays safe:

  • Decorate with non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
  • Check for frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections. Check labels to be sure about the proper use of indoor and outdoor lights. Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of a live tree and fill the stand with water to keep it from drying out.
  • An artificial tree should be labeled “Fire Resistant.” Place trees away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters.
  • If you use a fireplace or candles, always ensure there is a working fire extinguisher available and that you know how to use it.
  • Never dispose of evergreens or wreaths in the fireplace or wood stove. They are likely to flare out of control.
  • Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. It often contains metallic materials that can be toxic if burned.
  • Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains, drapes, children, pets, gift wrapping or anything combustible or flammable.
  • Be especially careful when you choose toys for small children. Be sure anything you give them is too big to lodge in their throat, nose or ears.
  • Select gifts that are not heavy or awkward to handle.

Also remember that small children and pets may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants can cause severe stomach problems. These plants include: mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep all of these plants out of reach.

The holidays often mean preparing large meals for family and friends. Wash hands, utensils, the sink and anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry. Keep in mind that a stuffed bird takes longer to cook. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers (less than 2-inches deep) within two hours after cooking. Date the leftovers for future use.

Be a smart party host or guest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all holiday traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Use designated drivers or taxis to drive you or guests home after a holiday party and remember to buckle up.

Happy Holidays!

—Nancy Grossman