Menu Close

4 Christmas Decorating Safety Tips to Keep You Safe

This is easily the busiest time of year in Louisville- and the merriest – but HomeMD Inspection Serviceswants to encourage you to make time for safety while celebrating the holidays and to ensure the safety of those you love.

By committing a few minutes each day to safety, many accidents can be avoided and your holidays will be memorable for all the right reasons.

holiday decorating safety checklist

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 14,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year due to holiday decor-related injuries.?

So, while you’re busy shopping for gifts, sipping your coffee or cider with friends, and setting cookies out for Santa, we don’t want you to worry about holiday home emergencies. But with all of today’s new Christmas gadgets and electrically-powered Christmas decorations, make sure to check the Christmas trees, electric lights, and candles.

Here is a holiday safety checklist to ensure that your holidays are bright and safe in your home.

Christmas trees:?If you are putting up a real tree, make sure your real tree is fresh ? the needles should be green and not break when bent. You also can test its freshness by tapping the tree on the ground; if the tree doesn’t lose many needles, it’s fresh. Make sure to stand your real tree away from any heat source (including fireplaces, radiators and air vents). Keep the stand filled with water when it’s inside, and trim low branches so they are out of reach of small children.

If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it is flame-retardant by reading the tag closely.? If you are using a tree that is more than 10 years old, re-read the tag to make sure your tree meets today’s safety standards.? Although a flame-retardant label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, it does indicate that the tree is more resistant to catching fire.

Lights:?Make sure all lights ? inside or out ? have been checked for safety by an independent laboratory.? When decorating with lights, use these safety tips to head off any dangers.

  1. Use only lights that have been tested?for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL. Lights for both indoor and outdoor usage must meet strict requirements that testing laboratories are able to verify. On most decorative lights available in stores, UL’s red holographic label signifies that the product meets safety requirements for indoor and outdoor usage. UL’s holographic label, with the green UL Mark, signifies it meets requirements for only indoor usage.
  2. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets and do not use electric lights on a metallic tree.
  3. Check each extension cord?to make sure it is rated for the intended use.? Make sure you don’t plug in more than three sets of lights per extension cord.? Periodically check the wires to make sure they don’t get too hot.? Turn all lights out when you go to bed, or when you leave your home.
  4. Check outdoor lights for labels?showing that the lights have been certified for outdoor use, and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.

Tree trimmings:?If you have small children or pets, beware of ornaments that are sharp or breakable. Don’t put any tree decorations on the lowest parts of the tree where a small child could reach them or a pet could eat them.

Fireplaces certainly add a spark of holiday merriment to the holidays.? But remember three very important things about your fireplace during this holiday season:

  1. 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 swallowed. Keep them away from children.
  2. Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace.?A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  3. Make sure all decorations are removed before lighting a fire.

Just a few more reminders that could create a safety hazard in your home.

  • Keep candles away from all other decorations, and never use them on a tree or near other foliage.? Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room, or leave the house.
  • If you plan to use fake snow on your windows, be sure to read the label to apply it correctly. The artificial spray can irritate lungs if you inhale it.
  • Finally, greenery ? such as mistletoe with berries, holly berry and Jerusalem cherry ? can be poisonous, so make sure they are out of reach of children and pets.

A well-watered tree, carefully placed candles, and carefully checked holiday light sets will help prevent the joy of the holidays from turning into a trip to the emergency room or the loss of your home.

For more helpful holiday safety information you can follow the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s website at UL’s?