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Holiday safety tips

Keep your family safe from injury this holiday

Keep your family safe from injury this holiday season by following this safety checklist. Credit: Fotolia

Keep your family safe from holiday hazards with this safety checklist from AFC Doctors Express walk-in medical centers:

Be careful with packaging

--Sometimes, people become so frustrated with hard plastic wrapping around toys and electronics that they cut themselves on the sharp-edged packaging or with scissors, tools or knives when trying to pry the packages open. An average 6,000 people a year go to the emergency room due to packaging-related injuries (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

--Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging before they become dangerous playthings.

Deck the halls without falls

--Santa looks festive on your roof, but don’t hurt yourself getting him up there. The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that during November and December, more than 13,000 people will need medical help from decorating-related injuries, such as falls, burns and lacerations.

--Keep ladders on level ground, clear debris (and keep kids away) from the area, and, when hoisting Santa and his reindeer on the roof, extend the ladder three feet beyond the roof's edge.

--Don’t stand on the top two rungs of the ladder (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Banish bad news batteries

--A 2012 study by the The Journal of Pediatrics reports that every three hours, a child under age 18 goes to an emergency room due to button-battery ingestion. These small batteries are often used to power toys, watches, remote controls and other electronic devices. Batteries that become lodged in the throat or intestine can generate and release hydroxide, resulting in dangerous chemical burns.

--Install batteries in toys before wrapping them to keep them out of the hands of curious kids.

Encourage helmet-head

--Some of the most hazardous holiday gifts have wheels -- including scooters, skateboards, in-line skates, bikes and motorcycles. Broken bones, sprains, head and spinal injuries are common around the holidays, especially when excited adults and kids want to try out their new wheels.

--Gifts with wheels should come with a helmet.

--For scooters, skateboards and in-line skates, the Consumer Products Safety Commission also recommends wrist guards, elbow and knee pads. All safety gear should be sized to fit.

Make sure chestnuts -- not Christmas trees -- roast on an open fire

--Each holiday, around 230 home fires start with Christmas trees. These fires cause an average of four deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in direct property damage.

-When choosing a tree, make sure live trees are fresh (deep green, not brown); trunk should be sticky and wet with resin; and make sure a large number of needles don’t come loose when you tap the tree trunk on the ground.

--Artificial trees should have a “fire resistant” label.

--Keep all trees away from heat sources such as  fireplaces and candles.

-Use lights tested for safety by nationally recognized testing labs.

--Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. It could cause a flash fire.

Carve the turkey, not your fingers

--Carving accidents are prevalent during the holidays because hosts are often rushing, talking and drinking when cutting up the turkey, ham or roast.

--Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you’re carving.

--Keep knives dry, because a wet handle is slippery and could cause your hand to slip onto the blade, resulting in a nasty cut.

--Keep all utensils sharp so you don’t have to force the cutting or carving.

--Make sure the carving station is a NO KID zone.

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