Avoid the Not-So-Merry Holiday Mishaps

The holidays are a joyous and special time. Families and friends come together to celebrate and decorations are abundant. We enjoy the bright lights, scented candles and delicious cooking; all creating the perfect holiday scene. 
However, with all the hustle and bustle, it’s important to decorate safely and avoid hazards that cause holiday related accidents. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency rooms nationwide during November and December of 2012.
“There are about 250 injuries a day during the holiday season. Adding safety to your checklist can keep a holiday tradition from becoming a holiday tragedy,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler.
In addition, warns CPSC, candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss. “Sometimes people are having such a nice time during the holidays that they forget to extinguish candles,” said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton.
Safety Tips to Prevent Holiday Disasters
Don’t be one of the statistics. Follow these important accident prevention tips from the CPSC as a guide to help prevent decorating disasters this holiday season.
Trees:
  • Check for freshness when buying a live tree. Make sure it’s green, with needles that are hard to pull from the branches. Also, make sure the bottom of the tree is sticky with resin and no needles fall off when you tap the tree on the ground.
  • For live trees, make sure to monitor the water level daily and keep the tree stand filled with water.
  • Always place trees away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents and radiators.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.
  • If you are decorating a tree in a home with small children, make sure to pay attention to sharp or breakable ornaments. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of kids who could be harmed by them and avoid trimmings that could resemble candy or food.
Candles:
  • Keep burning candles within sight and put them out before leaving the room and before going to bed.
  • Place candles on a sturdy, heat-resistant surface. Make sure they are in a location where they won’t get knocked over or catch anything on fire.
Lights:
  • Use lights that have been tested for safety. Also, make sure if they say for “indoor use only” you don’t use them outdoors.
  • Check each set by examining new and old ones for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Throw out damaged sets, and do not use electric lights on a metallic tree.
  • Stay off the roof and only put lights around the perimeter of the house where you can easily reach.
Fireplaces:
  • Do not put wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire could occur because wrappings can ignite suddenly and burn rapidly.
  • Put the fire out, or in the case of a gas fireplace, turn it off, before leaving the house or heading to bed.
Ladders:
Tis the season to be prepared and safe
Keeping your family safe and sound this holiday season is a top priority. Not only for your health, but this time of year when budgets are already stretched, an accident could add a huge financial burden. So bottom line is – keep the lights shining bright – safely.