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Winter Wonderland of Safety Tips

Here are some tips on how you can help kids have fun with Frosty while also keeping them safe.

Hunkering Down

When you decide it is just too darn cold to send the kids outside to play, remember that you need to keep them safe inside.

According to the National Fire Protection Association web site, heating equipment, such as space heaters and wood stoves, is the No. 1 cause of home fires during the months of December, January, and February.

"One of the chief concerns we have during winter is heating equipment fires, primarily with space heaters," says Margie Coloian, spokeswoman for the National Fire Prevention Agency. "To prevent fires, we recommend you shut them off when you leave the room and when you sleep, and position them three feet away from anything that can burn. You also don't want children or your pets to tip space heaters over or be burned by older models that can get really hot, so make sure they stay away from them."

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. "We recommend homes have carbon monoxide detectors," says Coloian. "When you burn fuel, including gas or oil, the carbon monoxide that is let off can build up, and if it's confined, it could be dangerous."

Keeping Rover Warm

Winter is no time to ignore your furry friends; pets need extra protection during the cold months, too. Here are some tips from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association that will help keep your pets warm and happy:

  • Layers work for pets, too! Even though your pet comes equipped with a layer of fur, sometimes it just isn't enough. Give your pet an extra layer with a warm sweater for those cold winter walks, especially if your pet has short hair.
  • Keep on eye on their paws. Your four-legged friend can get frostbite, so watch his paws, nose, and ears. And the chemicals used to melt snow on driveways and walkways can cause burns, so check your pet's paws, mouth and belly after each venture outside.
  • Protect your outdoor pet. If you have an outdoor pet, it should have a house that is dry and elevated, with clean, dry bedding facing away from the wind. It should also have a flap over the opening to prevent drafts. When the temperature drop below 30 degrees with wind chill, bring your outside pet -- in.
  • Keep the antifreeze away. Antifreeze, which has a sweet taste making it appealing to pets, is deadly even in small amounts. Make sure you clean up spills immediately before your pet decides to dig in.
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