Consumer News: Holiday shopping and safety tips

October 24, 2011

However, this year Wal-Mart may change that with its new "Christmas Price Guarantee.

If you buy an eligible product at Wal-Mart anytime between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25., then find that same product advertised for less at another store, Wal-Mart will give you a gift card for the difference through Christmas Day.

The items must be the same brand, size, color, quantity, and model number. They must also be available at a competitor's store located within the same local market as the Wal-Mart store where you made the purchase.

Items put on layaway will be eligible for the Christmas Price Guarantee, but the offer does not include groceries or items bought from Wal-Mart 's website.

In other news, for doctors Halloween is among the top holidays for emergency room visits by kids, particularly for hand and finger injuries.

Consumer Reports Medical Adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur has safety tips for carving that jack-o-lantern.

"Pumpkins are slippery and knives are sharp and that's just a bad combination. Instead, pick up one of these pumpkin-carving kits, which are available just about everywhere these days," said Dr. Avitzur.

Tools in the kits are smaller than a kitchen knife, easier to control, and they can saw through the rind without being razor sharp.

Kids can also draw the pattern, but have adults do the actual carving.

"When you're carving, stabilize the pumpkin by holding the top and pointing the blade down as you saw. And be careful not to put your hand inside the pumpkin when you're cutting," said Dr. Avitzur.

Speaking of Halloween, most kids love dressing up.

However, even the cutest costume can be dangerous if it's hard to move around in.

Make sure costumes aren't too long so your kids won't trip and fall or get caught on doors and railings.

Also make sure costumes, including accessories like wigs, are flame retardant. All those sold in the United States aren't supposed to catch fire easily.

It's also recommended that you use battery-operated candles instead of real ones.

And lastly, never put pumpkin pulp down drains, garbage disposals, or toilets. The slimy gunk is ideal for clogging or backing up your plumbing.

Instead, carve pumpkins on sheets of newspaper. Then wrap up the mess and throw all pumpkin-related materials into a trash can or compost pile.

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