Health Tips: Holiday Decorating Safety
Each year, there are about
10,800 hospital emergency room visits caused by falls, shocks and cuts related
to holiday decorating and fireplace accidents.
We’d like to help you avoid
an ER visit this season, so keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t burn wrapping
paper in the fireplace. Wrappings ignite suddenly and can cause flash fires
- If you use “fire salts,”
which produce colored flames when you throw them on the fire, keep them away
from children. Fire salts can cause stomach pain and vomiting if eaten.
For the tree:
- Cut off about two inches
of the trunk. Fresh wood absorbs water better. Keep the tree stand filled with
- The needles should be
hard to pull from the branches and they shouldn’t break when you bend them.
- Don’t set the tree up
near a fireplace or radiator.
- Keep the tree out of the
way of traffic and don’t block doorways.
- If you use artificial
trees, look for ones that are labeled “fire resistant.” This doesn’t mean they
can’t catch on fire, but it does mean that if they do, the fire will be fairly
easy to put out.
- Make sure any lights you
buy, for inside or outside, have some kind of seal or stamp or other
indication that they’ve been tested for safety by a recognized laboratory.
- Check your sets of
lights, whether they’re new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or
otherwise damaged wires.
- Don’t overload extension
cords. Use no more than three sets of standard-size lights per cord.
- Make sure lights you use
outside have been approved for outdoor use
- Turn off all lights when
you go to bed and when you go out. The lights can short out and start a fire.
- Use flame-resistant or
non-combustible materials for decorating a tree
- If there are small
children in your home, avoid using decorations that are sharp or breakable.
- Keep “bubbling lights”
away from children. Children are very attracted to these, but the liquid
inside is hazardous, and the candle-shaped glass can break and cause cuts.
- Keep matches, lighters
and candles away from children. And never leave candles unattended. If you’re
going out, the candles should go out too.
- Don’t use lighted
candles on the tree or near other evergreen decorations
Consumer Product Safety Commission.