Decking the halls with Christmas trees, holiday lights, beautiful decorations, and festive candles lands thousands of people in the hospital with Christmas injuries.
Making It a Safe Merry Christmas
Planning and decorating for the Christmas season makes the holidays a magical time of year. Selecting just the right Christmas tree, decorating with beautiful ornaments and lights, and filling the house with holiday scented candles creates a festive atmosphere. Christmas is filled with things that bring joy and laughter, but those things can also present safety hazards that put a major damper on festivities.
Decorating the Christmas Tree
There’s nothing more festive than a live green Christmas tree with holiday scents of pine, treasured ornaments, colorful string lights, beautiful tree toppers, and presents underneath. Decorating the Christmas tree brings the magic of Christmas alive, but it can also present fire dangers.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to about 200 house fires each year resulting from Christmas trees catching on fire. One in four fires is caused by a tree that is too close to a heat source like a space heater, heat vent, radiator, or fireplace. If a tree dries out from lack of water, it can ignite within seconds.
Installing Holiday Lights
Holiday lights commonly adorn the Christmas tree, the rooftop, front walkways, garden paths, and outdoor trees and plants. Installing twinkling or colorful holiday lights makes Christmas more festive, but it’s also a leading cause of serious injuries.
Falls from ladders cause lacerations, fractured and broken bones, neck and spinal injuries, concussions, and severe head trauma. In 2016, there were 15,000 Christmas injuries caused by falls from ladders, and one in 40 people suffered electrical shocks due to faulty wiring on Christmas lights, overloaded electrical outlets, and extension cords that were damaged or not rated for outdoor use.
Lighting Festive Candles
Candles throughout the house add holiday scents and a magical glow to Christmas. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns for every room, but they present significant fire dangers for homes and burn injuries to children.
When decorating with holiday candles, each should be kept at least three feet away from Christmas trees, plants, and flammable materials. If there are children and pets in the house, candles should be placed out of reach, anchored for stability, and extinguished before bedtime.