Approximately 12,000 people need emergency room care every year due to decorating incidents, according to the CPSC.
The holiday season and the decorations used to celebrate them can be dangerous when consumers fail to realize the hazards they can cause. Luckily, most of the risks can be reduced and even eliminated when common sense is used.
There’s no need to give up holiday traditions, but to keep the months of November and December safe a few simple safety tips will prevent a holiday tragedy.
Safe Lighting Tips
• Before hanging the lights, make sure that they’ve been tested for safety by a laboratory that is nationally recognized
• Check all of the sockets on strings of lights to make sure they are not cracked
• Check all light strings for frayed or bare wires.
• Look for loose connections on each set of lights
• Never use electric lights on a tree that is metallic
• If the lights are damaged, throw them out
• Check the extension cord to insure that it has the proper rating for what you’re planning on using it for
• Don’t use indoor lights outside. All lights intended for outdoor use are marked that they are certified to be used outside
• Check the outlet before you plug in the lights. Only use a portable receptacle that has ground fault circuit interrupter, also called GFCI
There can be hidden hazards whether you use a real tree or an artificial tree. But you can enjoy the holiday tradition of a decorated tree without worry by following a few safety tips.
• Check the bottom of the trunk. There is a sticky resin on the fresh tree
• Tap the trunk of the tree on the ground. A fresh tree will not drop many needles
• Manipulate the needles. Fresh trees hold needles more tightly, and the needles are supple and should not easily break
• Set up the indoor tree well away from heat sources. Live trees dry out quickly indoors, and fireplaces, radiators and vents can easily set a dried out tree on fire.
• Water the live tree. Heated air in the home is drying. Don’t let your live tree become a fire hazard by letting it dry out
• Set up the tree out of traffic areas where it could impair evacuation or be bumped and knocked over
• Do NOT set up the tree in a place that blocks a doorway
• Check to see that the artificial tree is marked “Fire Resistant”. This labeling doesn’t mean that tree won’t catch fire, though. It only means that the is more resistant to catching fire than other artificial trees
Decorations and Ornaments
• When decorating a home with children, keep breakable decorations out of their reach
• Avoid decorating with weighted or sharp decorations
• Be aware that children can inhale or swallow the removable parts of holiday trimming.
• Don’t tempt children by decorating with items that look like food or candy