The holidays are here! Most people easily get caught up in the celebrations and holiday decorating activities, decking out their homes. While we are busy putting lights on a Christmas tree and decorating our houses, safety is often the last thing on our mind.
Decorations like festive lights, wreaths, and trees can put your home in a unique holiday spirit. Be mindful of how you use these home decorations, though. Some of them, especially lights, can cause fires or create safety hazards when not used properly.
Safety hazards lurk behind the dazzle, twinkle, and sparkle of the holidays. Injuries that involve seasonal decorations, such as lit candles and Christmas trees, are down. However, the number of incidents regularly goes up during the holidays. That’s why you need to pore over the manufacturer’s instructions before using an item.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, keep your home and family safe. Here are some safety tips to have a happy and safe holiday season.
Choose Artificial Trees Carefully
Artificial trees come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. With regard to materials, they are usually made from petroleum-based plastics and PVC. In addition, they often use lead in the ‘leaves’ to make the tree structure more stable. This is especially true of artificial Christmas trees that are made in China.
By breaking down into the dust, the lead gets released from the tree and ends up in the air. The lead-contaminated dust is a source of poisoning. It is particularly dangerous for children.
Be choosy about Christmas trees to keep your children safe. A tree that is manufactured in the US is a safe bet. You are also advised to buy a fire-retardant tree, one that’s clearly labeled.
Take Care of a Live Tree
Live trees are supposed to be fresh. Not only do fresh trees look cheerful, but they are also more fire-resistant. That said, be sure to pick a fresh-cut Christmas tree for the holidays. Yet, bear in mind that such a tree needs care.
Maintain a high moisture level in your tree by keeping it watered. Hydrate your Christmas tree on a regular basis. That will keep the tree fresh and reduce needle loss. Otherwise, your tree will dry out quickly. A dried-out tree is more likely to catch fire than a green tree that’s properly watered.
As a matter of fact, conifer trees are highly flammable because of sap and needles. Even though your Christmas tree is green and fresh, it is still prone to catching fire. So make sure to keep it away from open flames (like fireplaces) and heat sources.
Look Out For Dangerous Decorations
Go for the Christmas decorations that are made of flame-retardant or non-combustible materials. Some decorations contain toxic materials, such as cadmium and lead, which are harmful to children. Keep any harmful decorations away from your kids.
Those with small children should avoid weighted, sharp, and breakable decorations. They need to steer clear of items that come with small movable or detachable parts as well. That’s because young children are inclined to put objects in their mouth. Decorations that resemble food or candy should also be kept out of reach of children. They tempt little ones to eat them up. Same goes for pets.
Inspect Holiday Lights Regularly
While the holidays without decorative lights are unimaginable, this is just one more thing to worry about.
Double check all of your holiday lights for cracks or frayed wires. Any light that has a frayed cord, loose connections, or cracked lamp holder should be discarded or replaced. Make sure the wattage and voltage of the bulb are correctly matched. Indoor lights shouldn’t touch carpeting, drapes, or furniture.
Turn off the lights when going to bed or leaving the home unattended. In addition to lowering your electric bill, it will prevent electrical problems and accidents with overheating. It is a good idea to use a timer if you’ll be away from home for a while. Put both outdoor and indoor holiday lights on it during the holidays. This helpful device allows you to control electricity usage efficiently. It is particularly useful for those who often forget to turn off their lights.
Check Extension Cords Too
Do not overload your extension cords. Remember that every extension cord has its limit. Avoid connecting a few extension cords together. That can cause electrical mishaps. To prevent this, use only one extension cord, preferably one that can reach the outlet.
If you plan on using cords outdoors, make sure they are designated specifically for outdoor use. When hanging lights, don’t hammer nails or tacks into electrical cords. Use insulated staples or hooks instead. You can also safely attach holiday lights by use of clips.
Secure Burning Candles
Be sure to extinguish candles before going to sleep or leaving your home. The burning candles should never be left unattended. Secure all the candles and keep them away from any flammable items. To prevent tipping, put the candles on a stable base or a heat-resistant surface.
While lit candles can add a pleasing holiday atmosphere to celebrations, try to skip them if possible. Instead, you can use flameless candles. Battery-operated or electric candles can do the trick.
Use the Proper Ladders
Most people will also want to decorate their backyards and the outside of their house for the holidays. Maybe you’ll want to beautify your home by decorating the exterior walls with wreaths, lights, and various ornaments. This involves the ladders. They come in handy when you want to string decorations and lights above your reach.
Keep decorations and ladders away from power lines when you’re decorating outside. Make sure the ladder is placed securely before you start to climb. It would be good if there is somebody supporting the ladder base, just in case.
Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season With These Tips
It’s important to take the right precautions when decorating your home. Aside from preventing hazards, it will help you focus on your family and friends during the holiday season. Because of winter conditions, household accidents may easily occur during the holidays. Make every effort to minimize the likelihood of these mishaps and stay safe. Happy holidays!