Minnesota Safety Council: Make sure time is on your side during the holiday season

ST. PAUL, MN — December in Minnesota brings the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the end of school quarters and semesters, concerts and celebrations, presents and family gatherings, and a complete lack of time to squeeze it all in. Give yourself a present this holiday season. Give yourself the time to enjoy it safely.

"Concerts and gatherings and celebrations are precious times during the holidays. It's hard not to rush from place to place and event to event but if you can give yourself a little more time and slow down on winter roads, you will make the season happier and safer," said Paul Aasen, president of the Minnesota Safety Council.

Common holiday-related risks include falls on icy steps, cooking fires, traffic crashes and accidental poisoning, according to Erin Petersen, coordinator of Safe Kids Minnesota, which is led by the safety council.

"Take a moment to make your home safe for guests, young and old. Check your sidewalks, secure your medicine cabinet and give yourself time to be safe while you enjoy the season with your family and loved ones." Petersen said.

The Minnesota Safety Council and Safe Kids Minnesota recommend:

Behind the wheel:
   - Buckle up, and plan ahead for a designated driver when you're going to a party.
   - Put away the phone, put down the food, the makeup, the book — keep eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on driving.
   - Be extra cautious in holiday-packed parking lots.
   - Slow down and increase following distance, especially if the road is slick or icy.

At home:
   - Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
   - Place candles away from anything that can burn. Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
   - Take extra care on ladders; keep steps and walkways clear and clutter-free, inside and out.

For the kids:
   - Store all medications (including those that guests may bring into the home), vitamins, cleaning solutions and liquid laundry packets out of reach and out of sight of children.
   - Check recommended age levels when choosing toys; keep small parts and other choking hazards away from small children.
   - Be sure to include a helmet with bikes, scooters and other riding toys.

Unintentional injuries such as falls, traffic crashes, and poisoning are a leading cause of death in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Safety Council is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing injuries on the road, at work, at home, and in the community. For more information, see www.minnesotasafetycouncil.org.

Safe Kids Minnesota works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death for children and teens. It is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Minnesota was founded in 1988 and is led by the Minnesota Safety Council. Find more information at www.minnesotasafetycouncil.org/safekids.


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