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Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Merry and Bright Family Safety Tips

28th Oct 2016

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and with them come a lot of joy as well as numerous opportunities to practice good safety habits. Ensure your family holiday is the best it can be when you follow the following handy hints for a merry, bright and super-safe holiday.

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Safe decorations

If your family enjoys a holiday tree, buy the freshest one you can find. Have the lot attendant cut the trunk before you take it home, so it can “suck up” water and stay fresher longer. Never allow candles near a holiday tree and always unplug decorative lights before turning in for the night.

When you buy holiday light strings, look for the UL certification on the label. Likewise, when you purchase spotlights, electrical decorations and carbon monoxide detectors, says Parents magazine.

Food safety is especially important at holiday time

The National Institutes of Health offers an extensive list of holiday food safety rules that make sense no matter what the season. The NIH advises people who work with foodstuffs wash their hands thoroughly and frequently.

In fact, keeping hands clean is the number one rule of food handlers everywhere. Wash before and after touching food, and wash them again after using the restroom, petting a dog or changing a diaper.

Take care not to cross-contaminate foods. Use separate cutting boards and knives for raw food and keep fresh veggies well away from meat handling surfaces. Disinfect cutting boards, counter tops and utensils before and after using them.

Wipe meat juices with a paper towel and throw it away immediately. When you taste-test a bite of food, use a clean spoon every time. Sanitize surfaces with bleach and water solution to kill germs and cleanse away contaminants.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Cooked foods should be kept at 140°F or higher. Accomplish this by using a crockpot, chafing dish or hot plate. Maintain chilled foods at no higher than 40°F with coolers or ice bowls. Offer perishable food items in small batches and refill them as needed. Cover and refrigerate leftovers within two hours.

Always use a thermometer to ensure cooked foods attain the proper temperature. Pork, poultry and fish should be cooked to a minimum of 145°F. Stuffed birds should be cooked to at least 165°F.

For safest results, cook poultry stuffing in a separate casserole dish, says the National Institutes of Health. Thaw your holiday turkey in the refrigerator, not the kitchen sink and plan on around one day to thaw a five-pound bird and exponentially more for larger poultry.

Safer traveling

Buckle up every time you leave the house, and always place small children in approved car seats before starting your Dodge Dart or other family car. Be on the alert for drivers who may have enjoyed too much eggnog, and never leave packages where they may tempt smash-and-grab car thieves.

The holidays really don’t have to be stressful, if you prevent accidents while enjoying holiday merriment with friends, family and co-workers.

Jennifer Griffin loves nothing better than gathering the family to her home for a holiday celebration. From Christmas, to Easter she is always storing up ideas for recipes, activities for the grandkids and decor.

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