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Published: Thursday, 12/21/2006

Tips for a Safe Home This Holiday Season

(NewsUSA) - Soft candle glow, crackling fire logs and garlands of twinkling lights brighten homes during the holidays. While enjoying the distinct scenes and flavors of this time of year, give some thought to keeping your holiday home safe and healthy for your family, pets and guests.

* Watch flammable objects. Fragrant aromas from scented candles, room sprays and potpourri enrich living spaces. But flammable items, including pressurized aerosol products, should never be used or stored around open flames, such as lit candles and fireplaces.

Aerosols should not be exposed to temperatures higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't leave aerosols on or near hot surfaces; the furnace, stove, radiator and space heaters are areas to watch. As a further precaution, do not keep aerosols in cabinets that are adjacent to appliances that get very hot, such as an oven or water heater.

* Always read the product label. Follow the directions for safe and proper use of the product. Use the product only for the purpose intended by the manufacturer.

* Store safely. When using and storing common household items, be mindful of the safety of children and pets. Lock medicines and place household products out of children's reach, and check for child-resistant latches on cabinets. Because chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and many human medicines are poisonous to dogs and cats, be sure that these items are stored out of reach of animals.

* Prevent food poisoning. Wash hands before food preparation and after handling raw meat. Separate cooked and raw meats, and keep raw meats away from other raw foods. Utensils that are used to prepare raw meats should be washed and cleaned thoroughly before using them to prepare fresh foods. Use a thermometer to be sure that meat is cooked to a safe temperature. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and promptly refrigerate leftovers.

* Be a safe party host. Appoint one person to monitor each child at the party. Provide visitors with a high, locked place for medicines and suitcases and purses containing medicines. Also, be sure to empty glasses, cans, bottles, ashtrays and plates of leftover food and drinks immediately after the party so children won't get to them.

Post the poison center phone number on or near every phone. If a possible poisoning occurs, immediately call 800-222-1222. An expert at your local poison center will quickly determine if any treatment is needed and will tell you what to do.

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