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Fact Sheet


As you enjoy the holiday season, consider these common sense tips to help make your holidays safe and healthy for you and your family:

Put the brakes on holiday drinking and driving. Offer a variety of beverages, including non-alcoholic ones, at holiday parties. If you serve alcohol, be prepared to arrange transportation for your guests.

Put safety at the top of your shopping list. Toys for infants and children under three should be free of small removable parts that can be swallowed or fit into the mouth, ears or nose - look for age guidelines on the toy or its package. If you're buying for several children in one family, remember that younger children may want to play with older kids' toys.

Put out holiday fires before they start. To prevent them:
 Throw away any lights with cracked or frayed cords. Read product instructions regarding the maximum number of cords that can be plugged into a single outlet.
 Keep portable heaters at least three feet away from furniture, bedding, walls, clothing and other flammable items.
 Place candles in non-tip holders on a sturdy, stable surface away from curtains, holiday trees, or other decorations that may catch fire easily. Don't leave candles burning unattended, and keep them out of the reach of small children.
 If you decorate a tree, choose a fresh-cut Christmas tree that's not shedding its needles. Cut the tree trunk at an angle and install the tree in a large, deep non-tip stand, well away from fireplaces, heaters and doors. Be sure to water the tree frequently and remove it promptly if it becomes dry. If your tree is artificial, make sure it's flame retardant.
 Before you hang stockings by the chimney, have the chimney inspected. When you cozy up by the fire, always use a fire screen and only burn material appropriate for fireplaces.
We all enjoy a hearty holiday meal. To make it a safe one, be sure to thoroughly wash hands, utensils, sinks, countertops or anything else that comes in contact with raw poultry. Closely follow cooking instructions on the product label. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers within two hours after cooking.

High levels of stress can increase the possibility of injury. Start your shopping early (or shop online), and allow plenty of time to savor the season.

Contact the South Dakota Safety Council at
or phone 605-361-7785 or 1-800-952-5539.