Getting ready to deck out your home for the holidays? Learn about 10 common decorating hazards and how to avoid them.
1. Christmas tree fires: Set up your Christmas tree far from any heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators or light fixtures. Make sure all lights are approved for tree use, and turn them off when you leave the house. If you have a real tree, water it frequently and dispose of it before it becomes dry tinder.
2. Fireplace hazards: Keep stockings, greenery and all other decorations clear of fireplaces and wood stoves.
3. Electrical fires: Overloading electrical outlets with holiday lights and decorations can lead to electrical fires. Use only lights that have been tested for safety and discard any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections. Outdoor décor should be specifically rated for outdoor use to protect against weather-related electrical issues.
4. Poisonous plants: Many traditional holiday plants like mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are poisonous if ingested. Keep them away from pets and small children.
5. Choking hazards: Small decorative items, such as tinsel and mini-pom poms, can pose a choking hazard to children and pets.
6. Ladder falls: Each year, many people suffer injuries from falling off ladders while hanging holiday decorations. Make sure you have the right ladder for the job, enlist a spotter, and keep three points of contact on the ladder at all times (such as two feet and one hand).
7. Candle fires: Candles can add a warm atmosphere to your holiday festivities, but they can also cause fires. Never leave them unattended, and keep them away from flammable objects.
8. Hazardous decorative toys: Decorations that double as toys must meet safety standards for children to play with. Pay special attention to small objects that could pose choking hazards and potentially toxic paints/coatings.
9. Breakable decorations: Keep breakable decorations away from children and pets (and bare feet!). They can cause injuries.
10. Extension cord tripping hazards: Ensure the cords you use for lights and decorations are tucked away or securely taped down to prevent trips and falls.
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