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Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are a busy time – shopping, traveling, and spending time with friends and family can leave us with crowded social calendars and frazzled nerves. This holiday season, make sure that you and your family stay safe and secure. Following these holiday safety tips will help you enjoy the season safely.

Deck the halls – safely

The holiday season is a time for your home to shine – literally. Twinkling lights, festive trees decked out with brightly colored ornaments, and the warm glow of candles transform your home into a winter wonderland of color and light. Here are some holiday safety tips to help you celebrate the season with safety in mind:

* Test all indoor and outdoor lights. Before putting strings of lights on a tree, the outside of your home, or anywhere else, make sure that all lights work properly. Check the cords carefully for exposed or frayed wire – if you see any problems, don’t use them! And always use your holiday lighting appropriately: make sure that you only use outdoor lighting that has been approved for outdoor use.

* Choose kid-friendly ornaments. If you have young children at home, make sure that your decorations are safe for children. Avoid ornaments or decorations that resemble candy or other edibles, and don’t use decorations that are breakable, sharp, or have small parts.

* Select a safer Christmas tree. Whether you prefer a real tree or an artificial one, you can make the safest choice. When purchasing a real tree, give it a shake – if the tree drops a lot of needles, it’s probably dried out. Find a fresher tree and keep it watered to reduce the risk of fire. If you prefer an artificial tree, make sure you buy one that is certified as fire resistant.

* Use candles safely. Candles are always a popular holiday decorating choice, but it’s important to remember that they pose a risk if left unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 17,200 home fires were started by candles in 2004. Always extinguish candles before leaving a room, and keep them out of the reach of kids.

* Be a cautious chef. Nothing smells better than the aroma of your favorite holiday foods cooking in the kitchen. But you should never put safety on the back burner – don’t leave a hot oven or a burning stove unattended, and always remember to keep hot food out of the reach of curious kids and pets.

* Give the gift of safety. Choose age-appropriate gifts for the kids on your holiday shopping list. Read labels and stay within the suggested age ranges for holiday presents. If you have young children, make sure you carefully inspect new toys and always read the instructions before use.

* Be a savvy traveler. For many of us, the holiday season means increased traveling. Whether you’re going down the road to a holiday gathering, or across the country to see the grandkids, remember that safety is first. When driving, always wear your seat belt and have a good roadside emergency supply kit with you. If you’re going to be out of town for a while, have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home while you’re gone.

* Remember the basics. No matter what time of the year it is, safety should always be on your mind. Take some time out of your busy holiday schedule to test your smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, and review your home safety procedures with your family.

The holiday season should be fun and joyful – and taking some extra holiday safety precautions will ensure that you and your family will be happy and healthy. Happy Holidays!

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