Deck the Halls Safely With Our Expert Tips

Ornament in a Christmas tree

Don’t forget safety when making your holiday to-do lists. Avoid potential accidents and fire hazards by taking some quick and easy steps.

Enjoy a holiday that’s merry and bright. Follow a few simple safety rules to ensure that you and yours usher in a safe and healthy New Year.

Oh, Christmas Tree (Safety)

Start by picking the right tree. For artificial trees, that means purchasing a tree that’s labeled fire resistant. If it’s pre-lit, look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label. For live trees, check for freshness. They shouldn’t lose too many needles when tapped on the ground, and the bottom of the trunk should ideally be a little sticky with resin.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when displaying your tree at home:

  • Cut off approximately 2 inches off the trunk before securing the tree in a sturdy stand that holds water.
  • A dry tree is a fire hazard, so keep the stand filled with water.
  • Set up the tree away from heat sources such fireplaces or portable heaters, making sure the tree does not block doorways or heavy-traffic areas.
  • Trim your tree with flame-resistant decorations.
  • Place fragile ornaments on higher branches out of the reach of children and pets.

Lighting the Way

The season wouldn’t feel the same without the twinkle of holiday lights. As with pre-lit artificial trees, check for the UL label when purchasing lights and hang as indicated — indoor lights for indoors and outdoor lights for outdoors.

Review these additional lighting safety tips before you start hanging:

  • Inspect all lighting for frayed or damaged wires, broken sockets and loose connections.
  • Do not connect more than three sets of lights together and avoid overloading outlets.
  • Run extension cords against walls to avoid tripping hazards. Do not place cords across doorways, out of windows or under furniture, carpets or rugs.
  • Secure outdoor lights with insulated staples or hooks. Never puncture wiring with tacks or nails, and make sure plugs are off the ground to help them stay dry.
  • Unplug or turn off all lighting when you leave home or go to bed.

Decorating Safety: Keep It Simple

Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like decorating your home. But don’t overdo it. Overloading on decorations can increase risk of accidents and fire. Here are a few more decorating safety tips:

  • Use a proper ladder when necessary. Don’t stand on furniture.
  • Check your decorations before putting them up and discard anything damaged.
  • Keep potentially poisonous holiday plants — mistletoe, amaryllis, holly berries and even some poinsettias — out of reach of children.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything flammable. Don’t leave burning candles unattended, and keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Do not place decorations within 3 feet of a portable heater or open flame.

Toys and Wrapping Done Right

When making your holiday gift shopping list, there’s some safety considerations when purchasing toys for children. Find out about recalled toys before you shop, and note these reminders:

  • Choose age-appropriate toys. For young children, avoid those with small pieces that could pose a choking hazard.
  • Be mindful of small batteries and young children. If ingested, they can cause serious health issues.
  • Carefully read instructions and remove any ribbons, tags or string before allowing your child to play with new toys.
  • Don’t forget a helmet when purchasing bikes, scooters or skateboards.
  • Contain the clutter when wrapping and unwrapping gifts to avoid potential tripping, fire or choking hazards.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.

Call 911 in the event of emergency, and keep the number for Poison Control (800-222-1222) handy. To learn more about children and safety, visit Renown online and check out our Safety page at BestMEDICINE Kids.

Have a happy and safe holiday!