The Twelve Days of Holiday Safety

Family safety tips for the holidays

Cue the music, turn on the twinkle lights and deck the halls of your home with love and warmth. We are in the midst of the most wonderful time of the year! With decorations all setup and holiday party plans underway, it's easy to forget about the proper safety precautions. Knowing how to stay safe during the season of cheer is just as important now as it is the rest of the year.

  1. Holiday Glow
    Nothing beats the ambience of sitting by a toasty fireplace on these chilly days, or lighting a few candles to create the feeling of warmth. If you do either of things, never leave an open flame unattended. Consider battery-operated candles if you have young children, instead of traditional candles. That said; also keep matches and lighters out of reach in a locked cabinet. 
     
  2. Safety First
    Test all smoke alarms and replace the batteries if it is not working properly. This is something you should do a few times a year. You should also clean the dust from the alarm and push the test button.
     
  3. Twinkle, Twinkle
    Children are attracted to things that are colorful and bright. Keep them away from fidgeting with lights, electrical decorations, or cords. Cover any unused outlets on extension cords with plastic caps to prevent children from coming in contact with a live circuit. Safety covers are an affordable answer and found at any home improvement department store.
     
  4. Home Alone
    It is not just a movie! Vacations are very popular during the holidays and thieves keep their eyes out for empty homes. If you choose to go away for a week, have a friend pick up your mail just to keep an eye on your house. Do not leave a spare key in an easy to find place.
     
  5. A “Griswold” Christmas
    Plug outdoor lighting into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These are used to reduce the risk of electric shock and prevent fires. If none exists, purchase them where electrical supply shop. They are easy to install.
     
  6. Oh Christmas Tree!
    If you are purchasing a live tree, make sure it is fresh. You want your tree to stay green as long as possible. Watering your tree daily is a necessity, because a heated room can quickly dry it out. If this happens, the tree becomes a fire hazard. Make sure it is at least three feet away from any fireplace, radiator, space heater or heat vent. If you opt to buy an artificial tree, look for a label on the box that says that it is fire resistant.
     
  7. Tree Toppers
    Place ornaments higher on the tree so children and pets aren't able to reach them. If swallowed, ornaments can cause blockages and other serious injuries. Ornament hooks are easily detachable and present a choking hazard.
     
  8. Lights Out
    Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed. The lights could short out and cause a fire.
     
  9. Merry and Bright
    Carefully inspect holiday light strings each year and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders, or loose connections. When replacing bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.
     
  10. Inside Out
    Be cautious with what decorations you put inside and outside of your home. Read each product label to determine where it is intended and utilize accordingly. It is a common misconception for people to believe that you can put indoor lights outside and vice versa. Lights that are certified for outdoor use are specifically made to withstand cold and wet conditions, and lights that are certified for indoor use have been safety tested to make sure that they are not a fire hazard for trees.
     
  11. Tangled Cords
    Arrange decorations so that no outlet is overloaded and cords do not fall underneath furniture. Be sure that the holiday lighting has no more than three strands strung together. It is estimated that 5,300 American homes catch fire every year from over loaded outlets.
     
  12. Put your paws up!
    Pets have a nose that get them into trouble. If you are having a family get-together, consider keeping your pets away from common areas. They will snoop for food when you turn your back to the table, so keep unattended plates of food out of reach. Keep in mind that various holiday plants are poisonous to our furry friends. Check out this list of dangerous holiday plants for more details. 

If you consider these twelve safety tips, you and your family are sure to have a safe and happy holiday!

Category: Family