Injury Prevention

Winter Holidays

Decorating for the holidays is fun for the entire family. However, there are many items in homes during the holiday season that can be dangerous, such as burning candles and glass ornaments that require extra supervision – especially in homes with young children.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 600 fires in the U.S. are caused from Christmas tree lights and decorations each year. Additionally, 7,500 injuries occur from Christmas trees and decorations alone.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 70 injuries from Christmas tree lights during last year’s holiday season and 142 injuries from candles between October 1998 through the end of February 1999.

To keep your holidays merry and safe, follow these safety tips:

Safety Tips

  • Make sure lights are marked with the UL Seal. (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., an independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization).
  • Always check indoor and outdoor wires, bulbs, electrical plugs and sockets before using.
  • Do not overload electric outlets or extension cords.
  • Never use indoor lights outside.
  • Never put nails through wires when hanging lights.
  • Do not run electrical cords under rugs or carpets. Cords can fray and cause a fire.
  • If using outdoor lights on outdoor trees, make sure that the trees have not grown into power lines.
  • Turn off holiday lights when leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Use ground fault protected circuits with outdoor lights for added protection from electrical shock.

When using candles:

  • Keep burning candles away from all flammable materials.
  • Never leave children in a room with lighted candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Be careful of loose fitting clothing around burning candles.

When using a live Christmas tree:

  • Select a fresh tree. Check branches every day to make sure it isn’t drying out. Trees usually dry out in 10-15 days.
  • Keep the tree stand filled with water.

When using an artificial Christmas tree:

  • Make sure it is labeled “fire resistant.”
  • Place the tree away from heat sources such as radiators or fireplaces. If possible, place it near a smoke detector.
  • Aluminum and metallic trees should not be decorated with lights. They may conduct electricity and cause electrocution.
  • Use flame-resistant ornaments.
  • Never decorate trees with lighted candles or other flammable decorations.
  • Avoid decorating with small objects that could be swallowed by a child.
  • Always keep fire extinguishers in the house.
  • Do not burn trees or wrapping paper in a fireplace.

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Last Update
November 3, 2010
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Last Update
November 3, 2010
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