Santa's safety list

Consumer Reports News: December 19, 2007 04:01 PM

The very nature of this blog means that most of the time, we are writing about things not to buy—the latest recalled toy or unsafe gadget. So today, we want to take a different approach and give you some ideas of things you could buy as gifts to help your loved ones and friends stay safe. Consider treating yourself as well.

For the car owner

  • A tire pressure gauge;
  • A roadside emergency kit with flares and a compact thermal blanket (if you live in a cold climate) in case the car breaks down;
  • A backup system (top photo) to see what's behind the car, so you don't back over anything or anyone in that troublesome blind spot.

For the homeowner or renter

  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors;
  • Fire extinguishers—there are some stylish ones on the market;
  • Metal ash bin and heavy gloves for the fireplace or wood stove;
  • A fully-stocked first aid kit;
  • Flashlight and batteries or, better still a hand-cranked radio and flashlight so you don't need to search for batteries or worry that they will run out;
  • UL or ETL listed power strips and extension cords.

For the handyman or do-it-yourself woman

For the host or hostess

  • An instant-read meat thermometer to know if your meat or poultry dishes are cooked to a safe temperature;
  • Different colored cutting boards—one for poultry and meat, another for fruit and vegetables;
  • LED candles that look like real candles to decorate your home without worries about fires.

For grandma or grandpa

  • A new tub mat to replace the worn-out one that has lost its sticking power;
  • A snug-fitting robe; styles with loose sleeves can catch fire easily;
  • Socks or slippers with rubber anti-slip grips on the soles;
  • Safety grips you can add to your shoes or boots to make walking on ice less treacherous.

For the active child or adult

  • An updated, certified life jacket to replace the 30-year-old version at the summer cabin;
  • A new—and better fitting—helmet for the cyclist, skier or snowboarder;
  • A snug helmet and protective pads for the rollerblader, skateboarder or scooter rider;
  • A reflective vest for the runner or walker.

For everyone
There are special tools available for anyone who has to open a gift that's been wrapped in a plastic shell to make the job easier—and safer.

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