Stay “funsafe, not unsafe” this holiday weekend with advice from area health, fire, police officials

What is safe for pets to eat? How can I stay safe while shopping? How small of a toy is too small for my toddler? Holiday questions answered here.

As the holidays near their peak and subsequent close, here is some advice from the City of Plano, Children’s Health officials, area police departments and fire-departments on how to stay safe this holiday weekend.

Reminders from Dallas Police Department, courtesy of the Collin County District Attorney’s Office

  • If possible, shop during the day and avoid peak periods.
  • Carry a small purse or fanny pack (or signature Lululemon crossbody, let’s be honest) to make yourself less attractive to purse snatchers.
  • Avoid doing all of the holiday shopping at once. A car full of goodies is more likely to be broken into.
  • Don’t leave packages visible in your car.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask mall security to escort you to your car.
  • Keep windows in the home secure and install a secondary blocking device on all accessible windows.
  • Anyone considering hiring an alarm company or an alarm installer should check to see if they are licensed in Texas as required by law, which you can search online.
  • Use a secondary locking device on all sliding glass doors.

Reminders from Plano Fire-Rescue/Plano Emergency Management

    • Remember to water live Christmas trees daily to keep them hydrated, prevent needle drop and reduce fire hazards. According to Plano Emergency Management, around 160 house fires start yearly due to dry trees.
    • Use battery-operated candles for holiday decorations, or use sturdy, safe candle holders if burning candles. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep. Candle fires peak in December and January, according to National Fire Protection Association.
    • Don’t overload your outlets with decorations and lights.

Reminders from the City of Plano:

  • The Plano Public Library mobile app is no longer available “due to vendor issues,” the city said in a newsletter. For those seeking reading materials while traveling for the holidays, digital resources can still be accessed on apps like Libby, Kanopy and PressReader when logged in with a Plano Public Library Card.
  • Pets are especially vulnerable this season!
    • Be careful with plants.
      • Holly and mistletoe are poisonous when eaten.
      • Though not truly poisonous, poinsettias’ milky whit sap and leaves can irritate the you pet’s mouth and stomach.
      • Ingested pine needle can puncture pet’s intestines.
    • Lighted candles should never be left unattended, especially if placed at a pet’s level.
    • If you have a tree-climbing cat or a large dog with a happy tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall using a strong cord or rope.
    • Just in case your pet gets out during holiday festivities, make sure that your pet is registered. If they do get out, check out the lost-and-found pets map.
  • With gift-giving dominating this season, you can keep your trash from overflowing by making the most of recycling. Metal, glass, paper, cardboard and plastics 1, 2 and 5 can be recycled

Reminders from Children’s Health pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Lauren Lazar

  • When purchasing toys:
    • Check for choking hazards – if any part of the toy or its components can fit into an empty toilet paper roll, it can be choked on.
    • Be cautious with batteries.
    • Purchase helmets and knee pads if purchasing riding toys.
    • Help prepare toys for children by removing toys from packaging before letting children play with them
    • Pay attention to toy labels and age recommendations.
  • If a child swallows something that they aren’t supposed to:
    • Go to the ER if:
      • you see your child swallow a button battery, magnet or sharp object
      • your child swallowed a foreign object and complains of acute, serious symptoms such as
        • stomach ache
        • abdominal pain
        • chest pain
        • a feeling like something is stuck in the throat
        • difficulty breathing
        • difficulty swallowing
        • drooling
        • vomiting
        • coughing
        • gagging
    • Some foreign objects can pass through the digestive system without any issue. Other times, an object may get stuck in the esophagus and require a doctor to remove the object through an endoscopic procedure.
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