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The Weather May not be the Only Frightful Thing…

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Stocking hangers pose serious threat as they can fall on curious elves' heads (and little children's heads, too). Hang stockings with well secured hooks, or ensure that they are well out of reach.

No matter which holiday you celebrate - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, the Solstice, Festivus or National Ding-a-Ling Day (yes, it’s a real thing) - your home will be filled with bells, dreidels, flags or other decorations to mark the celebration.

Along with the decorations also comes a variety of food items (some of them flaming hot - like our personal favorite, popovers), and a variety of other dangers - some of them seen, and some unseen.  Here are a couple tips for things to look out for to make your home safer for everyone, particularly the little elves that may drop by (we’ll skip the obvious ones like don’t drink and drive, and don’t leave burning candles near your dried-out natural Christmas tree).

  1. Stocking hangers - do you hang your stockings from those beautiful metal figurines?  They sit on a bookshelf, or your mantle, and hold the stocking while adding some flare?  Yea, bad idea.  All it takes is a little hand to tug on one of those stockings, and that stocking hanger will come crashing down on their heads.
  2. Those tiny little batteries - the flat “quarter-size” ones - they are dangerous, and they look delicious. Each year, hundreds of children end up in hospitals having these tiny and powerful batteries removed from their stomachs.  They can be deadly if ingested.  Keep the out of reach of children, and if you suspect a child has swallowed one, go to the hospital right away.
  3. “Angel Hair” (looks like spun cotton), can be made out of spun glass - wear gloves while working with it, and put it only in areas that are up and away from kids.
  4. Holiday plants may look delicious to children (and to Fido), but they can be poisonous or cause severe reactions.  Place them in areas where kids and pets cannot get to them.  If you do think someone’s ingested something poisonous, call the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.  Plants to watch out for include:  mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis
  5. Holiday Lights - a good guide - use no more than three (3) strands of lights on any one extension cord, and don’t run extension cords under carpets piles of gifts, etc.  as they can get hot and cause fires.

There are three broad safety areas where you should use extra caution:

    1. Ladders.  Slip and fall and ladder fails kill people every year and hanging holiday decorations is a perfect time to get out the ladder.  To be extra safe, don’t climb a ladder alone - have someone at the base to help you.  There are many more safety rules for ladders. Check them out at the National Safety Council’s website.
    2. Food Safety -  It’s such a bummer when you poison the whole family with that raw turkey!  And who doesn’t love leftovers in sandwiches, with mayonnaise that’s been sitting out for hours?  Wash your hands often, particularly when handling poultry, and follow recognized food safety guidelines usually printed on food labels.  Learn more at the government Food Safety website.
  • Travel by car.  Of course, no distracted driving and no drinking and driving - but have you also made sure that you have all the safety equipment you need in case you get stranded on a frosty day?  In our family, we have extra blankets, flares, hand warmers, and more in the car, just in case (and a few granola bars and bottles of water, too).  The American Automobile Association (AAA) has excellent tips to stay safe on a holiday trip.

  • Whew. Seems like a lot to remember, right?  Not to worry, with a little extra caution (take five minutes after you read this to walk through the house and see how you are doing), you and your loved ones will make it through this treacherous time unscathed!

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