Make sure your holiday season is safe


The holidays can, and should, be a time of bliss. Unfortunately, they are often a time of tragedy. There are many dangers at home, on the roads and at the malls that can turn an otherwise happy holiday season upside down.

Christmas decorations are a delight, but they can also create some significant risks. One of the greatest potential dangers is the Christmas tree. If you have a live tree, water it regularly. It should not be positioned near a heater or fireplace, and don’t allow lit candles near it. Make sure all decorative lights are UL-approved and do not glow too hot. And check to see that your tree is securely anchored in its stand — especially if you have pets. If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is flame-retardant.

If you have small children at home, avoid using ornaments that are sharp or easily breakable. Keep any decorations with small, removable parts away from the bottom of the tree.

Tinsel can be a great finishing touch, but to cats it is a sparkly, irresistible toy, and they can easily swallow and choke on it. In a house with a playful cat, tinsel is best avoided, at least on a tree’s lower branches.

Your outdoor lights have probably been up for a couple of weeks now, but just because none have gone dark doesn’t mean you can ignore them until it’s time to take them down in January. Check the wires regularly to make sure they’re in good condition. There should be no kinks or fraying, and wires should never be hot to the touch. Check the connections as well; they should be covered with electrical tape to avoid damage from rain or snow.

Be a safe shopper
There may be only a few days left until Christmas, but there’s plenty of time left for shopping. Then the time will come to spend all those gift cards.

Protect yourself when you go shopping. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and what you do bring, keep in your front pocket. Your credit cards should be in a safe place, and the issuing company should be notified immediately if one is lost or stolen.

Be aware of your surroundings. Try to do your shopping during the day, but if you have to go at night, bring a companion if possible, park in a well-lit spot and beware of strangers.

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