Be Safe When Your Spirited Crew is Playing Reindeer Games around the House this Christmas!
Don’t Overlook the Not-So-Obvious Holiday Hazards at your Home
Christmas is full of excitement and wonder. Don’t forget about hidden holiday hazards at your home – better think twice before putting your family in harm’s way. Beyond the obvious risks of fire from extension cords and too many cooks in the kitchen are a few other things that could spark a Christmas catastrophe. Beware of the five big Christmas hazards we sometimes overlook:
1) Spirited Party Guests
Monitor your guests and make sure everyone has a safe ride home. Ask them if they have the Uber app on their phone, or a designated driver. Talk about this as the guests arrive, and make sure you are looking out for the safety of their fellow spirited party guests!
2) High Strung Christmas Lights
Every year, more than 500,000 people are injured as a result of falling off of ladders. Be safe and ask for help from a friend or neighbor. No one wants to sustain a holiday injury. You can also damage your home by not thoughtfully installing your Christmas decor. Electrical hazards are the biggest threat. Since the lights are outside, we tend to put them up then forget about them. Be mindful of the extension cords, electrical outlets, and placement of lights on your home’s exterior. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, about 860 fires are caused by holiday decorations each year. If this is a concern for you, this info by the Electrical Safety Foundation might help: https://www.esfi.org/resource/in-the-right-light-decorate-your-home-safely-during-the-holidays-567
3) Toppling Trees
Make sure your tree is in a secure stand, located in a place where it is not at risk for falling over onto a candle, space heater, or the fireplace! Kids and pets can pose a tip-over risk. One thing many people don’t even think about is this: when decorating, avoid real candy and popcorn: it might lure kids or pets to tug at the tree and pose choking hazards or tip the tree over. Trees are involved in hundreds of fires every holiday season.
4) Thirsty Trees
Cutting away a sliver from the bottom of your new tree’s trunk will allow it to absorb more moisture and slow drying time. If holiday distractions mean tree-watering will slip your mind, consider investing in an artificial tree or try an automatic watering system for your ‘real’ tree. A tree that gets dried out is a big hazard because it is so flammable. A dried out, thirsty tree positioned near a candle or fireplace is a big risk.
5) Your Fireplace
Of course it’s obvious that an open fire inside your home deserves monitoring and thoughtful care. Sometimes during the holidays, house guests, excited children, and distractions get in the way of good safety habits, posing holiday hazards. Tossing wrapping paper into the fireplace may seem harmless enough, but doing so poses a flash fire risk. Split hardwood is the best thing to burn, and make sure your chimney is swept and fireplace is maintained before you build a fire. Be careful about where you place any embers or debris removed from the fireplace that has not completely cooled. Take a little time to talk to your family about fireplace ‘do’s and dont’s’. Kids see us taking care of the fire and they might not understand all the rules. Glass doors on your fireplace are always a great idea, especially if you have children, and a Christmas tree in the room!