The holidays are a time for spending with family and friends, not rushing to the emergency room. Whether you’re preparing to decorate your own home, or going to visit relatives or friends, keep the following tips in mind to help everyone have a merry and safe holiday.
If you decorate a tree, avoid these top decorating mistakes:
- Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
- Keep the glass ornaments off the tree until children are older as they can be easily broken.
- Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level, and keep lights out of reach.
- Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent.
- Never leave a lit Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended.
Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets.
- Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
- Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
- Sweep up pine needles as they can cause cuts in the mouths and throats of children who swallow them.
- Ornament hangers can be a choking hazard, and may cause cuts when infants and toddlers crawl over them.
Top tips to prevent poisoning this holiday season:
- Keep alcohol, including baking extracts, out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
- Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach.
- Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.
- Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.
In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222
Tips to prevent choking, burns and other injuries:
- Don’t leave bowls of nuts or hard candies out if young children are present. They can be a choking hazard.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure you have a safety gate to prevent young children from getting too close when it is lit.
- Keep candles out of reach.
- If you have a tablecloth, runner or other low-hanging fabric be careful that children don’t try to grab it to pull themselves up.
What are your family holiday traditions?