Winter can be a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the snow or hibernate indoors, but the cold temperatures can also pose some problems. Use these winter tips to be prepared and to keep yourself and your family safe and warm.

Space heater safety: Use only use newer models with safety features like automatic shut-off. Keep space heaters at least six feet away from flammable materials like drapes and blankets. Plug heaters directly into the wall, not into extension cords or power strips. Place heaters on flat surfaces, away from children and pets.

Safe sleeping: Turn off electric blankets when they are not being used. Keep pets away from electric blankets, as their teeth and claws can puncture wire insulation and cause damage.

Prevent carbon monoxide danger: Make sure to have carbon monoxide detectors, and that they work properly. Learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Oven safety: Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Not only is it inefficient, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Let the sun in: Open curtains or blinds when the sun is out to help warm your home. Close them at night to help retain heat and cut down on drafts.

Bundle up: Add a layer instead of turning up the thermostat. A sweater or blanket will help keep you warm without adding to your energy use.

Energy assistance: North Shore Gas offers numerous resources for customers — including budget billing, payment plans and heating assistance.