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Holiday hazards

(Sing to the tune of "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow")

Oh tis' that special season

When I hope you'll have good reason

To decorate with safety in mind

When it gets to be holiday time!

Yes, it's the holidays and what better gift can I share than a few reminders to make this the healthiest and safest of holiday seasons.

First, if you have a tree, secure it well to keep it from tipping and keep it away from floor heaters, fireplaces or other heat sources. Make sure it has water every day to prevent it from drying out and increasing its risk of becoming a fire hazard. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree or a person touching a branch will get shocked.

Speaking of lights, inspect your light strands and replace any that appear damaged or frayed, as well as broken sockets and bulbs. Keep no more than three strands of lights linked together, and keep the small bulbs and ornaments high up in the tree so smaller children don't try to eat them and choke.

If there are children in the home, avoid candles or at least keep them out of reach of small children, and do not put candles on trees whether or not children are present. December is the month with the most candle house fires. To avoid a potential fire hazard, turn off all lights and blow out all candles when you sleep or leave the house, and of course, make sure your smoke detector is working.

Most holiday plants are safe, but remember that mistletoe and holly berries eaten in excess can be dangerous. If your child does snack on a holiday plant and you're not sure what or how much they may have eaten, you can always call the NE Regional Poison Center at: 1-800-222-1222 and they can help.

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