You’ve dreamed about this event for so long, and it’s finally arrived—the opportunity to celebrate the holidays in your new home! According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, nearly 95 million Americans display a Christmas tree in their homes. As such, accidents are bound to happen.
Follow these five tips to ensure a safe holiday season in your dream home.
1. Lighten Up. If you are decorating with lights you’ve used before, inspect them for frayed wires, gaps in the insulation and cracked sockets. If the strands show excessive kinking or wear, it’s time to buy new lights. Never overload electrical outlets or link more than three light strands. Multiple strings of lights should be connected to an extension cord and plugged into the electrical outlet instead of plugging the end of the strand directly into the outlet. LED lights are the best option because they are energy efficient, cooler, last longer and as a bonus—as many as 25 strands can be connected without overloading a socket.
2. Handle candles with care. Candles are often the culprit behind holiday fires. Many firefighters recommend forgetting candles altogether because they can be easily knocked over; ignite a fire if a gust causes them to blow towards drapery or furniture; and because gift wrap catches on fire easily. The safe solution is to use LED flameless candles which flicker like real candles, but are completely safe to use. If you absolutely must have real candles, place them in stable holders where they cannot be easily knocked over. When you leave the house, be sure to blow them out. It is best not to leave candles unattended, so extinguish the flame if you won’t be in the room for extended periods of time. Never ever decorate a Christmas tree with real candles no matter how appealing this nostalgia may be.
3. Tame the flames. Don’t place holiday decorations near heat vents because they could catch fire. Choose nonflammable or flame-retardant decorations for the same reason. Contrary to popular belief, it’s unsafe to toss wrapping paper into your fireplace because its chemicals can cause embers to shoot sparks, resulting in a chimney fire.
4. Keep pets safe. Christmas tree needles are unsafe for pets when swallowed because they can be mildly toxic and worse yet, may puncture Fido’s gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, the fir tree oils may irritate your dog’s mouth and stomach. Avoid hanging fragile ornaments near the bottom of your tree because paws may cause them to easily fall and break.
5. Consider children’s point of view. Large family celebrations usually include infants, toddlers and young children, so consider the display of decorations from their perspective. You may have to get down on your knees and contemplate their line of sight—could they easily reach a light strand or other dangerous object? Do your ornaments pose a danger? For example, whimsical candy ornaments and candy canes appear appetizing to a toddler, however they are both choking hazards.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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