Safety Tips for the Home During the Holidays
Yes, it may be the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also be one of the most dangerous. Last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated there were 15,000 injuries in hospital emergency rooms resulting from holiday decorating in November and December 2012. That equals to about 250 injuries a day.
According to the CPSC, the most common injuries were from falls (34%), lacerations (11%), and back strains (10%). Around 200 fires caused by Christmas trees were reported, resulting in 10 deaths.
Here are several tips from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) to keep your home safe this holiday season.
Children and Pets
Anyone with a small child or pet knows to keep breakable decorations off the tree or higher than a child can reach. Here are some more tips to keep your children and your pets safe.
- Watch children and pets around space heaters or the fireplace. Do not leave a child or pet unattended.
- Store scissors and any sharp objects
- that you use to wrap presents out of your child’s reach.
- Inspect wrapped gifts for small decorations, such as candy canes, gingerbread men, and mistletoe berries, all of which are choking hazards.
- Don’t give children toys with small parts or cords that could be a choking hazard.
- Give age-appropriate gifts to ensure they are safe.
In 2012 approximately 24.5 million Christmas trees were purchased during the holidays. To keep yours looking its best and to keep it safe, follow these tips.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
We love the warmth and cozy feel from a fire burning during the holidays. Follow these tips to prevent house fires or injuries.
- Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
- Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten.
- Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
As for back strain, please exercise caution when lifting large items. Bend with your knees rather than your waist. And be careful in the kitchen when using sharp knives. Often cooks get distracted when a lot of people are around.
Find more by visiting the website at www.nachi.org/holidaysafety.htm. And please stay safe. Nothing saps your holiday spirit faster than an injury and a trip to the emergency room.