Fitness Facts: Holiday decorating safety tips
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
With the holidays comes a lot of holiday decorating. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 18,000 people in the U.S. are seen for injuries sustained while holiday decorating during the last two months of the year.
While holiday decorating may seem like a harmless activity, certain decorations are more dangerous than others and can result in holiday accidents that cause serious injuries and in some cases death. Three of the most common and problematic Christmas decorations known to cause holiday accidents include lights, trees and candles.
To ensure you have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season with your friends and family, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home:
- Place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and heaters and keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable because of needles and sap. Do not block doorways.
- A dried-out tree can catch fire faster than one that has been properly watered. Check the water level every other day to ensure proper hydration. Starting with a green tree is one way to keep it from drying out so quickly.
- If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry.
- If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.
- Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. Paper can catch fire very quickly and can cause flash fires. Instead, recycle (or better yet, reuse!) your wrapping paper.
- When stringing lights and decorations above your normal reach, make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base.
- Don’t mount lights in a way that might damage the cords and avoid using nails or tacks. Use hooks or insulated staples instead.
- Turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could cause an electrical fire.
- Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Make sure they are out of reach of young children and pets.
- If you have fragile ornament, place them out of reach from pets and kids.
- Avoid decorations that look like candy or food if you have young children — or pets — in the house.
- Poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of reach of kids and pets.