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Christmas can be a magical time of the year for not only children but also adults! The yearly traditions of hanging ornaments on the tree, wrapping presents, and baking cookies create lots of opportunities for families to share traditions and spend time with each other. This Christmas, make family time a safe time with these tips from 4-Safety!
Trimming the Tree
For many families, the Christmas season begins with decorating the Christmas tree.
When purchasing a tree and other decorations, there are several things to keep in mind to prevent fire hazards:
- Make sure if you’re purchasing a real tree, that it is fresh. This means the tree is green, does not lose many needles when tapped on the ground, and has sticky resin at the cut end.
- For an artificial tree, make sure it is designated as fire resistant.
- At home, place the tree (whether it is fresh or artificial) at least three feet away from all heat sources such as baseboards, fireplaces, and space heaters. Water your fresh tree daily, and dispose of it as soon as possible after the holidays.
- Check with your local community to find a recycling program for your dried out Christmas tree.
Decking the Halls
When it comes time to decorate your home, there are several precautions you should take:
- For decorations such as lights, make sure the wires are not frayed or exposed, there are no cracked or loose bulbs, and all electrical outlets being used have good connections and are not overloaded.
- Always blow out candles and unplug all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Keep candles from becoming a fire hazard by placing them at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, or choose a safer alternative such as flameless candles.
Shopping for Gifts
Another important part of the Christmas season is shopping for gifts. When shopping for children, it is important to remember two things:
- Buy toys that are age appropriate. Especially with young children, this can greatly reduce the risk of choking, suffocation, or strangulation from a toy. Small parts frequently present choking hazards for children under 3, balloons are not recommended for children under 8, and electronic toys that must be plugged in are not advised for children under 10. Also, make sure to buy a helmet and other protective equipment along with any riding toy gifts such as bicycles or scooters.
- Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for toy recalls. Toys, furniture, and other products for children are often recalled, but it can be difficult to remember what’s safe and what’s not when selecting gifts. The CPSC website will give you the most up-to-date information on what items to avoid.
Christmas day is one of the most dangerous days of the year for drivers. During the Christmas season, crash fatalities can increase up to 25%. Decrease the risk of your family being involved in a crash by following these tips:
- Reduce your speed in wintry conditions and always use a designated driver.
- Make sure all passengers are wearing seatbelts, and using the appropriate car seat. If your child is in a car seat, be sure to remove their winter coat before placing them in the seat.
- Reduce any distractions within the car, such as loud music and cell phones.
In preparation for being snowed in on the road, keep an emergency kit in the car.
Celebrating the Holidays
Christmas often brings a time full of parties and visits with relatives.
Make sure you have a safe holiday using these tips:
- Keep poisonous plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly out of reach.
- Secure all alcoholic beverages! Ask adults to hold their drinks rather than leave them on surfaces where children could accidently drink them.
- If gifts are going to be exchanged, promptly dispose of ribbons, bags, plastic wrapping, and other trash.
- At the end of a holiday gathering, clean up right away, especially floors and low surfaces such as coffee tables where young children may be tempted to explore.
- Have your guests store their purses and bags away from children to prevent unintentional poisonings from medication or even other everyday items like perfume or hand sanitizer.
Following these tips will help to ensure that you and your family enjoy a happy holiday season!
Additional information on Christmas safety
Did You Know?
- More than half (55%) of the December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (32%) in January to November (Source: NFPA)
- In 2016, non-motorized scooters were the category of toys associated with the most injuries in children younger than 15, making up 23% of all toy-related injuries. (Source: CPSC)
- Annually, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 210 home fires that originate from Christmas trees (NFPA)
- Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 37% were reported in January (NFPA)
- In 2016, there were an estimated 240,000 toy related injuries requiring emergency room treatment. (CPSC)
- Christmas can be a magical time of the year for not only children, but also adults! The yearly traditions of hanging ornaments on the tree, wrapping presents, and baking cookies create lots of opportunities for families to share traditions and spend time with each other.
This Christmas, make family time a safe time with these tips from 4-Safety!
Learn more about Christmas safety
Holiday Safety Videos
Dina Morrissey, MD, MPH, program coordinator of the Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital discusses safety tips parents should keep in mind when decorating for the holidays.
CDC Holiday Song
8 Tips for a Sparkling AND Safe Holiday, Electrical Safety ESA
Holiday Fire Safety, Electrical Safety Foundation International (CDC
Holiday Fire Safety, Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA)
Holiday Safety Tips for Cats and Dogs, vetstreet.com
Children and Holiday Safety(CDC
Preventing Holiday Decorating Hazards
NFPA: The NFPA gives great information on how to pick and maintain your tree to avoid fires.
AAP: Dr. Benjamin Hoffman has lots of tips to keep your kids safe while decorating this Christmas. He also shares some great toy safety tips for parents (and Santa!).
AAP: With the holidays come many holiday parties. Keep your kids safe, whether you are the one entertaining or you are visiting a friend or family member’s home.