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Community News

December 11, 2010

Safe Kids offer holiday tips

In addition to food, family and gifts, decorations are one of the highlights of the holiday season.

While candles, Christmas trees and other decorations are part of the holiday spirit, they can pose fire and poisoning hazards, especially to curious children, according to Rich McCaffery, a community educator with Bassett Health Care Network and Safe Kids of Otsego County.

The holidays are a time for spending with family and friends, not for rushing to the emergency room. Once all of your decorations are up, keep a close eye on both children and the decorations themselves.

Follow some simple safety tips to protect your family and your home.

If you decorate a tree, Safe Kids of Otsego County encourages you to avoid these top decorating mistakes:

"¢ Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.

"¢ Trim protruding branches at or below a child's eye level, and keep lights out of reach.

"¢ Natural trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent.

"¢ Never leave a lit tree or other decorative lighting display unattended.

"¢ Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets.

"¢ Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.

"¢ Do not burn tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace. Top tips to prevent poisoning this holiday season:

"¢ Keep alcohol, including baking extracts, out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.

"¢ Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach.

"¢ Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.

"¢ Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.

To sign up for regular e-mail news about Safe Kids Worldwide and in Otsego County, send contact McCaffery at or 547-5256 or Coleen Vesely at or 547-4812.

Safe Kids of Otsego County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. and is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury.

Safe Kids of Otsego County was founded in 2000 and is led by Bassett Healthcare Network.

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