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Archive for Monday, November 14, 2011

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Holiday hazards: Keep your family safe by watching out for these dangers

November 14, 2011

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Pet safety tips

Got pets? Here’s how to keep them safe during the holidays:

Decorations: Make sure ornaments, garlands and lights are high on the tree and cannot be reached by pets, who can incur serious intestinal injuries or oral burns if these are chewed or swallowed. If decorating the house with poinsettias, keep them out of pets’ reach, as they can be toxic.

Gift wrap: Don’t allow cats to play with long strands of ribbon. The ribbon can “stitch” a cat’s intestines together as it is passed through the gut.

Food: Turkey and ham bones can become lodged in the intestines if swallowed in large pieces by your pets. Pets can also become seriously ill from table scraps or choke on them.

— Source: Vet Lori Pasternak, owner of Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care in Richmond, Va.

The holidays can be a lot less fun with a broken arm.

Or with a burnt palm, charred oven or a mound of credit card debit.

To avoid having the karma scrooge rain on your holidays, we asked Eve Tolefree of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical and credit counselor Anju Mishra of Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. for tips to keep you, your loved ones and your assets safe during the holidays.

Cooking hazards

  • Clean your oven before Thanksgiving — food particles can build up and start fires.
  • If you’re using a marinade, be careful about oil spillage. Because oil sits on top of water, it can be the first thing spilled if your marinating pan overflows. If it spills, it can be a fire or explosion hazard.
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors and at a distance from any structures.
  • Never put turkey fryers on wooden decks, and make sure whatever surface you do use is completely flat to avoid tipping.

Tree hazards

  • When picking a fresh Christmas tree, look for one that is green, is sticky with sap and has needles that are hard to pull off.
  • Make sure to keep your tree stand filled with fresh water so your fresh tree won’t dry out and become a fire hazard.
  • If you’re the artificial tree type, make sure your tree is labeled as fire-resistant. If it has built-in lights, have a UL label.
  • When picking where to place your tree, make sure to put your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Also be mindful that your tree is not blocking or narrowing walkways.
  • Check your holiday lights before hanging — look for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Repair or replace any damaged sets.
  • If you hang edible ornaments like candy canes or popcorn chains, make sure young children are aware that other ornaments are not edible.
  • If candles factor into your decorations, never leave them unattended, where small children can reach them or near anything flammable. Also, don’t put candles on your tree, even unlit.

Financial hazards

  • Budgeting is crucial for shoppers looking to get through the holidays unscathed — make a list of recipients, figure out how much you can spend, and then figure out what to get them.
  • A budget is worthless if you don’t stick to it — to help yourself, you may want to use only cash.
  • If cash isn’t an option, make a plan to pay off your holiday credit purchases ASAP.
  • If family members like to list out present possibilities, have them make a “need” suggestion (socks) and a “want” suggestion (a brand-name handbag).
  • Make gifts — a memory book, collection of family recipes, or even the gift of time are presents worth their weight in gold while being easy on the pocketbook.

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