Holiday Safety



Candles and Fireplaces

About 2,200 deaths were caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries in 2013, according to Injury Facts 2015, and12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.

Flickering candlelight looks beautiful, but real candles should never be used on or near a Christmas tree (the earliest Christmas trees were illuminated by candles). Even Christmas lights can pose a fire safety problem. Frayed wires left unattended can overheat, turning a dry tree into a raging inferno in just seconds. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, home holiday decorations cause over 400 holiday fires each year, resulting in $15 million in property loss and damage.

• Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
• Keep candles out of reach of children
• Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
• Don't burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
• Don't burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
• Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year


Holiday Decorating

Putting up decorations is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, however an estimated 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating were seen in emergency rooms during the 2012 season.

• "Angel hair" is made from spun glass, and it can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves when handling it, or substitute non-flammable cotton
• When spraying artificial snow on windows or other surfaces, be sure to follow directions carefully; these sprays can irritate your lungs if inhaled
• Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top
• Always use the proper step ladder; don't stand on chairs or other furniture
• Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets
• Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222
• Make sure paths are clear indoors so older adults do not trip on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.; NSC provides tips for older adults on slip, trip and fall protections.
• If possible, avoid climbing onto the roof to set up holiday decor. If you must use a ladder, make sure it is securely positioned, and ask another adult to hold it for you. Children should never climb ladders.





Gift Giving

We've all heard it's important when choosing toys for infants or small children to avoid small parts that can be pulled or broken off and might prove to be a choking hazard. Here are some additional gift-related safety tips you might not have heard about:
• Select gifts for older adults that are not heavy or awkward to handle
• Be aware of dangers associated with coin lithium batteries;; of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries
• For answers to more of your holiday toy safety questions, check out this Consumer Product Safety Commission blog
• See which toys have been recalled.

Don’t Give the Gift of Food Poisoning

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some holiday food safety tips. Here are a few:
• Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking
• Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature
• Refrigerate food within two hours
• Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for four days in the refrigerator
• Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating
• When storing turkey, be sure to cut the leftovers in small pieces so it will chill quicker
• Wash your hands frequently when handling food