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4 important safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season

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(BPT) - The holidays are here and it's time to celebrate! No matter how you mark the winter holidays, chances are you'll be purchasing gifts, cooking and decking the halls with friends and family.

When making your list and checking it twice, make sure to put safety at the very top of the page. Nothing ruins the holiday spirit like an accident or injury. As part of its Holiday Safety Campaign, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers four important tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe this season.

1. Online products: Review product descriptions and check for recalls

E-commerce retailing has grown year-over-year during the holidays. However, not all retailers are created equal. When purchasing products online this holiday season, keep these tips in mind.

When buying online, you could be purchasing from the manufacturer, a retailer or a third-party seller. If you have a problem with a product or want to return or exchange it, where you purchased the product matters. Remember to look for "sold by" information when purchasing from an online marketplace.

Don't skim product descriptions. Always read to the bottom of the listing or check drop-down menus for additional safety information. This is especially important when shopping for kids. Also, read customer reviews to see other consumers' product experiences.

If you’re purchasing second-hand products from an online marketplace, check to see whether products have been recalled before you buy by going to CPSC.gov/Recalls.

Also, always buy from reputable dealers, and if the price seems too good to be true, this can be a sign that the product is not authentic or original and may be unsafe.

2. Toys: Think of safety testing and gear

There's nothing quite as special as a child's reaction to opening a gift. To keep the season jolly for kids of all ages, look for a certification mark on the manufacturer's label from an independent testing organization. This ensures that the item has been tested for safety. Also be sure to follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy and product packaging. Choose toys that match each child’s interests and abilities, and consider the ages of other children in the household who may have access to the toy.

If you are purchasing a bike or other riding toy, purchase safety gear like helmets to accompany the gift. If purchasing for your own child or family member, ensure that they use them every time they ride.

After opening gifts, immediately discard plastic wrappings or other toy packaging. These can become dangerous playthings if not disposed of quickly.

3. When cooking holiday meals, don’t take your eyes off the turkey!

Everyone loves gathering with loved ones to share a delicious holiday dinner. To keep your holiday feasts safe and fire-free, never leave cooking food unattended on the stove or in the oven. The holidays are the most common time for cooking-related fires. If you’re frying a turkey, only fry it outside and away from your home or other flammable materials. Never use turkey fryers in an enclosed area like the garage or on the porch.

4. When holiday decorating, consider flame risks

It wouldn't feel like the holidays without festive decorations! To keep holiday decorating merry, bright and safe, consider the fire risks in your home.

If you purchase a live tree, make sure it has plenty of water. Dry trees can go up in flames quickly from a malfunctioning string light. Look for the "Fire Resistant" label when buying an artificial tree.

Also, never leave candles unattended. Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow or snuff them out before leaving the room. Whenever possible, use flameless candles for your holiday displays.

When hanging lights, never string together more than three sets of incandescent lights and never overload electrical outlets.

Follow these steps to help keep you and your loved ones safe so you can fully enjoy the spirit of the season. Visit CPSC's Holiday Safety Information Center for more holiday safety tips and CPSC.gov for year-round safety information.