The holiday season is a magical time of year full of excitement and anticipation as decorations go up and friends and family gather together. To make sure your holiday season is memorable with good times, follow these 10 tips to keep your home safe and free from accidents.
Watch your step: The most common accident during the holidays is falling. To keep hazards at a minimum, pick up as you decorate. Make sure wires from lights are tucked away; keep stairs clear and well lit. Put away things you don’t need so you aren’t tripping over them.
Prevent choking hazards: If there are children in the home, make sure there aren’t any potential choking hazards from fallen ornaments, hooks, lights, or broken toys.
Put holiday décor out of reach: While many novelties look like toys, they are not and have not necessarily met any safety standards for children. Put breakable items and those with small parts out of reach of children.
Maintain safety with lights: Before you string up lights, inspect them for damage. If cords are frayed, cracked or old buy new ones. If a bulb needs to be replaced, unplug the lights before removing it. Always turn lights off when you go to bed or leave your home.
Keep children away from lights: It can be tempting to photograph your children with lights, but there are hidden dangers. Many lights have a warning, California’s Prop 65, that they may be carcinogenic and potentially cause birth defects from the lead in the plastic coating. Playing with electricity is never a good idea. If the wires are damaged, a child may get hurt. Don’t take the chance.
Hang outside lights carefully: Make sure when connecting cords that they stay off the ground and away from metal gutters. Use plastic clips and insulated tape to hang lights instead of nails and tacks. Check packaging to see how many light strings you can connect, generally only three, and only use lights approved for outdoor use. Do not connect more than one extension cord to another. Check your lights periodically to make sure they are not warm to the touch as well. If you will need a ladder to hang lights, choose one that is made of wood or plastic, as opposed to metal.
Use a timer: You can purchase indoor and outdoor certified light timers. This will keep you from touching cords and can save you money. By turning lights on after 7pm, you’ll miss the peak electricity use.
Check smoke alarms, fireplace and furnace: Change and test smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm batteries. Have your wood burning or gas fireplace inspected by a professional. Having your furnace inspected once a year is a good idea as well to prevent carbon monoxide problems.
Prevent fires: Do not leave candles unattended. Keep all paper and flammable items away from open flames. Use lights instead of the traditional candles to decorate your tree. Purchase a freshly cut tree. A dried out tree is more likely to catch on fire. Keep a fresh tree watered and away from flames.
Take your time: Don’t rush getting everything ready. Take your time to prevent accidents and make a list if it will help. Give yourself enough time to wrap presents, decorate and cook dinner to avoid cuts, burns and broken items. Place scissors and screwdrivers in a safe place near you to open gifts without cutting or hurting yourself trying to do it with your hands.
Considering safety in your home is always a good idea. By following these tips, you are likely to have a safe holiday to enjoy in your home with family. Remember, it is always better to play it safe. If you are questioning yourself if something is ok or not, it probably isn’t. Keep your family safe and the holidays enjoyable.