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By Special to the Monitor

The holiday season can be a hectic time of year. Buying gifts, cooking and decorating are just a few of the activities that we are busy with right now.
But soon children will be out of school for winter recess, it’s also an important time to be mindful of safety.
Here are a few simple tips to keep the holidays merry and safe:
• Place your tree or menorah away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.
• In homes with infants and young children, avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable and do not hang trimmings that resemble candy or food that might tempt a young child to eat them.
• Place space heaters, candles and other heat sources at least three feet away from all flammable material such as bedding, furniture and drapes.
• The Window Covering Safety Council is urging parents to only use cordless window products homes with young children. According to information provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1990, more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords. Replace older window coverings with today’s safer, cordless products.
• Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary.
• Do not burn gift wrap, paper decorations or dry greenery in the fireplace. They could ignite suddenly, resulting in a flash fire.
• Select toys to suit the age of the intended child. Do not give an infant a toy with small pieces that can be swallowed or inhaled.  
• Keep hot liquids and foods out of the reach of children.

A reminder from the Snow Control Center
In addition to keeping safe in your home, people should be vigilant about being safe on the road during the winter months. Here are some tips to stay safe.  For more information, call 662-8397.
Stay informed
Road condition updates, closings and delays will be broadcast on several popular regional TV and radio stations. Tune to the county’s emergency broadcast station 1610AM or local KRSN 1490AM or lamonitor.com. You can find information about road conditions for state highways by calling 1-800-432-4269. Whenever possible, the county’s Web site, www.losalamosnm.us, will also list any county-related early closings, cancellations or delays.
Be alert
During winter storms, county paving crews will do their best to keep streets open and safe for traveling - please help by yielding to their efforts and keep a safe distance away so your vehicle will avoid being struck by flying sand and salt.
Be prepared
Consider using snow tires and/or chains on your vehicle. It’s helpful to carry a container of sand and shovel in your vehicle, too. The county places barrels of sand near intersections that are notorious for being slippery and icy during storms.
Be patient
In heavy storms, crews will work to clear primary roads like Diamond Drive, Trinity Drive, Rover Boulevard and Grand Canyon Road first. Sidewalk clearing will be prioritized for those sidewalks that are listed as “safe routes to school.” Parking lots serving major county facilities will be cleared just as quickly as possible. Other streets, sidewalks and lots may take a bit longer to clear.
Help where you can
Park your car in the driveway or on the shady side of your street. County crews typically plow snow toward the sunny side of the street to speed the melting process. Your cooperation will minimize snow accumulation around your parked vehicle, plus, the snow plows won’t have to maneuver around them. In the event of heavy snowfall, snow will be plowed to both sides of the street.  Remember, plowing operations will likely deposit snow in driveways and on sidewalks. You’re encouraged to keep sidewalks, parking areas, and driveways in a reasonable, passable condition by removing snow and ice. Please pile snow on lawns or vacant spots on your property rather than shoveling it back onto the street.