Putting up Christmas decorations is fun for the whole family – except when it’s not. We’ve all heard stories about someone falling off the roof, tripping on a tangle of Christmas lights, or having a holiday decorating disaster that ended with a trip to the doctor.
This year, it’s time to skip the injuries and make holiday decorating a safe activity – both before and after you hang the decorations. Here are some tips to help you do that.
Check Your Lights
Before you put your lights on the tree or your home, make sure to check them for frayed wires, burned out bulbs, and broken sockets. Any damaged lights should be discarded and replaced. Using them can lead to a dangerous electrical short or a fire.
Likewise, when you string your lights, don’t use anything to hold them in place that might damage or fray the cords. Instead of using nails or tacks, which might pierce the cords, use hooks or insulated staples instead.
Protect Your Tree
Whether you’re buying a live tree or using an artificial one, it’s important to stick to common-sense safety guidelines.
Live trees should be placed away from fireplaces and other heat sources to prevent them from drying out and reduce the risk of fire. It’s also essential to give your tree plenty of water.
Any artificial tree you use should be flame-retardant. Even though you won’t have to worry about it drying out, you should still take care to place it far away from heat sources that might melt it or damage light cords.
Decorate with a Buddy
When you’re hanging lights and decorations at the top of the tree or outside your home, make sure to do it safely. You should never use a ladder without a buddy to hold it steady and prevent you from falling.
You should take care not to overreach when you’re on a ladder. Make sure your ladder is tall enough for the job.
Replace Potentially Dangerous Decorations
When was the last time you took an ornament inventory to see if what you’re using is safe? If it’s been a while, make this year the year you check everything. For example:
- Breakable ornaments should be placed out of reach of children and animals
- Small items or anything that young children might put in their mouths should be put out of reach as well
- Ornaments with sharp edges should be discarded or placed out of reach of kids
- Decorations that look like food but aren’t (such as fake apples or candy) might be dangerously tempting to children
You don’t have to get rid of your favorite decorations, but be smart about where and how you use them.
Take Precautions Before Bed
It might be tempting to leave the Christmas tree lit when you go to bed or leave the house, but it’s not worth the risk. Unattended trees can catch fire or fall.
Before you go to bed or leave home, unplug your lights, put out any candles, and make sure that everything is secure. Doing so will give you the holiday peace of mind you need.
Skip the Poisonous Plants
Did you know that holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are all poisonous? If you have pets who like to nibble on plants or small children who put everything in their mouths, it’s a good idea to skip these plants and choose safe alternatives, instead.
If you feel the holidays wouldn’t be the same without a poinsettia, make sure to put it out of reach of anybody who might be tempted by its bright petals and leaves.
Keep Christmas Safe
The best way to have a peaceful, injury-free holiday season is to take these common-sense precautions while decorating. Then, you can sit back and enjoy your festive home without worrying that a family member or pet might get hurt.