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Give the gift of a safe holiday

Shopping, decorating, baking and holiday entertaining are all part of what makes the holiday season a cherished time for family and friends.

Although this may be the most wonderful time of the year, you may not realize it can also be the most hazardous; worse than any lump of coal.

Before you mutter, "Bah! Humbug!" you should know that one can go a long way toward safeguarding your family by being sure to put safety at the top of your holiday to-do list.

There is no better gift than to keep your family and friends safe. Take in account the following SAFE HOLIDAY tips.

S - Shop for safe presents and toys. Not all gifts and toys are safe or appropriate. Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest of the child. Look for labels with age and safety advice.

A - Always wear a helmet. Winter is a popular time for outdoor activities. Being aware of risks and taking safety measures during the season can help reduce injury . Wear helmets while skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and sledding.

F - Fire safety. A lighted tree. Stockings hung. A blazing fire. The scene is classic holiday. But is it safe? Whenever you add fire to a scene, you need to add an extra level of caution.

E - Emergency kit. Prepare your car for a winter emergency. Stock items such as a mobile phone charger, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit, non-perishable food, extra clothing, sand or kitty litter, jumper cables, ice scraper, snow shovel, matches and a small can that could contain a fire.

H - Handle food properly. Wash hands before and after preparing food. Eat cooked food promptly; refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.

O - Outdoor safety. Avoid being outside too long during extreme weather. Know the warning signs of hypothermia and dress appropriately with a hat, gloves, good socks and layer clothing.

L - Let people know where you are going. Headed outside? Going out on the roads? Let people know where you're going and approximate time of arrival or return.

I - Ice! Wear proper shoes to decrease chances of slipping. Clear snow and ice from driveways, porches and walkways to prevent falls.

D - Designate a sober driver. Drinking and driving has serious, complicated consequences, possible crashes with injury or death, as well as lawyers, court, fee, and jail time. Plan for a safe and sober ride before the celebration begins.

A - Always wear your seat belt. Buckle up! Every body, every seat, every time!

Y - (Texting shorthand for "Why"). Because if you're well-informed about safety you're bound to have a happy, enjoyable and safe holiday season.