One of the most anticipated activities of the holiday season is the decorating. The smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree, the beautiful garland hanging, and the bright glowing candles all are part of Christmas. However, some trees and other holiday decorations can create safety hazards if used improperly.
Here are some tips to keep your Christmas decorating safe and merry:
- If you are one of those that like to go out and get a fresh new tree every year, then choose one with green needles that are hard to pull from the branches and that bend easily without breaking. The base of the tree should be sticky. Place the tree a safe distance away from stoves and fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, and keep it away from high traffic areas. Mount the tree in a large sturdy stand. Keep the tree stand full of water at all times.
- Only use Christmas Lights that have the “UL” label. Check all lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and look for any loose connections. When hanging outdoor lights they should be weatherproof, and fastened securely to the roof etc. Use no more than three sets of lights per extension cord. Don’t use lights on a metallic tree because the tree can become charged with electricity if the lights are faulty. Make sure you always turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave your home.
- Always use flame-retardant decorations. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles made from plastic or nonleaded metals because materials containing lead are very poisonous if ingested by children and pets.
- Also make safety a holiday priority in your gift giving, when selecting children’s toys. Recent recalls of toys with lead paint or other defects highlight just some of the issues to keep in mind about toy safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers more guidelines to keep the kids on your holiday shopping list safe.
- Try not to buy toy chests without safety hinges on the lids. Those that can slam shut have been blamed for 21 deaths since 2002.
- Select toys appropriate for the skills, abilities and interests of a child. Federal safety requirements concerning sharp points apply to all toys for children under age 8.
- Toys with long strings or cords are not recommended for infants or young children because they can cause strangulation. Never hang toys with long strings, cords, loops or ribbons in cribs or playpens or where children can get entangled.
- Discard plastic wrapping on toys immediately before it becomes a deadly item.
- Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards.
Have a Merry Christmas, but best of all BE SAFE!