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Commit a Minute to Holiday Safety

Posted Nov 30 2010 11:07pm

“Safety first,” Mimi always says. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing a game, baking cookies, enjoying a candlelit dinner, or decorating the tree, safety must always come first. It’s scary to think of all of the things that could happen when we don’t take a minute, or two, to insure we’re being safe.

A single minute could be the difference between a good day and a day spent in the emergency room. Did you know that every minute, 17 children visit emergency rooms due to unintentional injuries? Injuries are more common around the holidays – nearly 230 people will visit the emergency room each day for holiday-related injuries.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) , a leading independent safety organization, is calling all parents, specifically moms, to set aside time in their schedule to commit at least one minute to safety each day this holiday season. They have given us a list of things to keep in mind so we can put safety first.

Top 10 Tips for Safer Holidays

1.       Water your tree: Dry trees pose a substantial fire risk. After bringing your tree home, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk before putting it in a sturdy stand. Be sure to water it daily. Additionally, know your trees expiration date. After about four weeks, the tree will stop absorbing water, dry out and should be discarded.

2.       Check your lights, check them twice: Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations for damage or wear. Cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections may pose a fire or shock hazard.

3.       Plan your fire escape: Use the holidays as a good time to practice a fire escape plan with your loved ones. Identify at least two exits from every room in the house.

4.       Sleep safe, install smoke alarms: UL recommends using both types of smoke alarms in your home. Be sure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on each floor of your home, and always close to sleeping areas.

5.       Be flame aware: Always blow out unattended candles and teach your children to stay away from lit candles or fireplaces.

6.       Give wrapping paper a second life: Don’t burn used wrapping paper as it may cause intense flash fires. And throwing it out adds waste. Consider recycling or repurposing it instead.

7.       Know your lights and cords: Do not connect more than three miniature light strings together.  Also, be sure to check the rating on your extension cords and do not plug in more than the recommended wattage.

8.       Steer your tree clear: Your tree should be positioned at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. It should also not block any doorways or exits.

9.       Decorate with a safe eye: Cords should not be run under carpets and lights should not be tacked-up with metal nails or staples. Small decorations can be choking hazards so keep them out of the reach of toddlers.

10.   Look for UL: Only use light strings and other electrical decorations that bear the UL Mark near the plug, signifying that safety standards have been met.

Will YOU commit a minute to safety this holiday season? Share how you will fulfill your commitment in the comments below, before December 15th, and you could win a $50 Visa gift card!

I have been compensated to bring you these safety tips, but safety is important to us, so I was happy to partner with UL this holiday season. For additional ideas and activities on how to “Commit a Minute” this holiday season, visit www.SafetyAtHome.com .

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