CHRISTMAS TREES: BEFORE purchasing, check for freshness to minimize fire hazard of dry needles. BEFORE mounting a tree in the house, cut base so it can absorb water. Place tree away from fireplaces and other heat sources. Read about Christmas Tree Fires (NFPA Fact Sheet) & Selecting and Caring for your Real Tree (Nat'l Christmas Tree Assoc.)
DECORATIONS: Lights that are Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) approved for (exterior use.) Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house, need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors. Don’t use outdoor lights indoors. They’re too hot for interior use. For the coolest bulbs and greatest energy efficiency, try LED lights, which come in a wide range of styles and colors. Inspect light strings. Discard any that are damaged. Frayed or cracked electrical cords or broken sockets are leading fire hazards. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting multiple strings. The general limit is three strings. Light strings with stacked plugs can usually accommodate greater lengths than end-to-end connections. Replace burned-out bulbs promptly. Empty sockets can cause the entire string to overheat. Don’t attach light strings with nails or staples. They can cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Only use UL-approved hangers.
Do not run electrical cords under rugs or in high traffic areas. Turn lights off before going to bed or leaving the house. Place lighted candles away from combustible material. Extinguish all lighted candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
TOYS: Ensure toys are appropriate for child’s age (not buttons, etc. for toddlers). Do not purchase infant toys that contain ropes or cords. Ensure toys are large enough not fit in a child’s mouth. Consider Eye Safety and Noise / Hearing Safety. Check the Holiday Toy Recall Checklist (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
FIRE and CARBON MONOXIDE SAFETY: Be sure all family members know and practice fire exit drills in the home. Have Fire Extinguishers ready at hand, Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Be sure chimney and fireplaces have been inspected and cleaned. Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach. Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not leave a stove unattended. Follow manufacturer recommendations for kerosene and propane heaters.
Read these, too:
PARTY SAFETY: Be sure rides are provided for intoxicated guests. Provide non-alcoholic beverages (and Food!) Provide large ashtrays for smokers to put ashes and discarded cigarettes. Be sure smoking materials are extinguished before tossing into trash container.
When preparing and serving Holiday Food - be careful... here are some great guides:
- Eggnog--A Potential Holiday Hazard (Univ Missouri)
- Holiday Food Safety (American Dietetic Assoc. & Con Agra Foods)
- Pretty Poisons of Christmas (Okla. Poison Control Center)
- Mail Order Food Safety (USDA Food Safety Inspection Service)
LADDER SAFETY: Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts and nuts. Be sure ladders extend at least three feet past the edge of the roof. Non-metal ladders should be used around electricity.