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How to avoid holiday hazards

Monday, December 21, 2015 by Nora Ankrum

The bountiful supply of comfort food, booze and elaborate ornamentation that helps make the holidays merry should also make revelers wary, says the city of Austin. “Don’t let holiday hazards ruin your celebration,” warns a recent announcement from the Health and Human Services Department. The announcement lists food, alcoholic beverages and decorations as three major sources of hidden danger at this time of year and provides tips on how to avoid such perils as food poisoning, drunken driving and choking hazards. Examples include tips on proper thawing of frozen foods and handling of raw meats, advice on securing sober rides and information about toxic or otherwise dangerous decorations – particularly for children and pets – such as poisonous holiday plants (e.g., poinsettias and mistletoe), antique ornaments (which may have lead paint), bubble lights (which can contain methylene chloride) and sharp, breakable objects (especially those that look like candy). The holiday season also brings with it more than 5,000 “decorating-related falls” each year, according to the announcement. To avoid unnecessary accidents, it is best “NEVER” to stand on anything that can become unstable and always to be mindful of ladder safety rules, such as this one: “Space the ladder at least one foot away from the wall for every four feet high it reaches.” For more on how to avoid the season’s hidden perils, visit the city’s website here.

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