Holiday Decorating – Hazardous to your Health?

xmasYes, actually it can be, to you, your children, and your furry family members!

Every year during the holidays more than 14,000 people are treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating related injuries, and other holiday decoration “issues”. Millions of dollars in property damage and additional personal injuries are caused by Christmas tree and candle related fires! So here are some tips to keep your family and your home safe this holiday season:

The Tree

  • Artificial – Look for it to say Fire Resistant on the label
  • Fresh cut – Look for freshness; green needles that do not fall off easily. Keep your tree fresh by watering it regularly. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents.
  • Avoid sharp, breakable, ornaments or trimmings that are small or have removable parts if you have small children in your home. Best to avoid decorations that look like food or candy too!
  • Place your special keepsake ornaments near the top, out of the reach of children and pets.

Lights

  • Only use sets that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized lab, such as UL.
  • Check for frayed/bare wires and loose connections. Throw away damaged sets.
  • Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree!
  • Make sure your outdoor lights are approved for this specific use.
  • Use extension cords that are rated for the intended use.
  • Unplug all lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Keep all cords inaccessible to your pet so they will not be tempted to chew on them.

Candles

  • Keep all candles within your sight and extinguish them before going to bed or leaving your home. (unplug them if using the electric version)
  • Keep lit candles away from items such as curtains, decorations, furniture, and your tree or other evergreens that could ignite quickly. Keep away from high-traffic areas to avoid being knocked over.
  • Electric candles – check all wires, sockets, etc. for fraying or damage and replace if necessary.

Fireplace

  • Do not burn wrapping paper, tree branches or other items inside that could ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  • Be careful with “fire salts”, used to produce colored flames. They can cause internal irritation and illness if swallowed…keep away from children and animals.

Miscellaneous

  • Keep alcohol and baking extracts out of reach.
  • Keep candy canes, potpourri, and scented candles away from pets. Even if not toxic, you may still end up with a mess to clean up if they decide to taste them.
  • Mistletoe berries, holly berries, and poinsettias can be poisonous if ingested. If you are using them to decorate, make sure kids and pets cannot reach them.
  • Round up ribbons, bows and other shiny goodies. These are an open invite to your pets for fun and could end up in their tummies!

The holidays are a time to be with family and friends, not visiting the emergency room. Keep these tips in mind while you decorate. Not only can your decorations be dangerous, but hanging them can also be a danger; be cautious. Once all of your trimmings are up, keep a close eye on them.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

 

Check out some more holiday decorating tips here.

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