Christmas safety tips for at home and on the road
'Tis the Season for Holiday Safety
From now through January, families will spend hours decorating their homes for the holidays. Creating a safe environment will be the most important preparation of all. Keep these tips in mind when you’re at home and on the road:
Lights and Candles
•Decorate your tree and home using only UL (Underwriters’ Lab Inc.) approved lights and cords. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Be sure to secure electrical cords so that children can’t pull them and topple the tree.
•Turn off the tree and lights when you go to bed and when you leave your house.
•Teach children not to touch burning candles. Do not leave candles unattended.
•Check cut trees for freshness. Make sure that it’s difficult to pull needles from the branches and that the branches don’t break if bent.
•Before purchasing artificial trees and decorations, make sure they are labeled as flame retardant or resistant.
•Use a wide-based stand to make sure the tree is secure and will not fall over.
•Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators and heating vents.
•Decorate your tree with children in mind. Keep lower branches free of ornaments that are breakable, look like food or candy, have small parts or contain metal hooks. Also, make sure tree lights are hung out of reach of young children.
Holiday Foods and Ornaments
Some foods and objects are dangerous, especially to those under age 6.
•Round, hard foods and candies, such as candy cane pieces, mints, nuts and popcorn, are a choking hazard.
•Keep tinsel, small figurines and other decorations away from children.
PoisonsWhile preparing your home for the holidays, be aware of seemingly innocent and unexpected forms of poisons.
•Holiday beverages, such as eggnog mixed with alcohol, may be sweet and inviting to young children. Do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
•Some plants are poisonouse if eaten. Watch for poisonous holly and mistletoe berries that fall on the ground. Other poisonous holiday plants include amaryllis, boxwood, and Christmas rose. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous, but they can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress.
•Avoid using artificial snow sprays to decorate. These sprays can cause lung irritation if inhaled.
During the holiday months, people travel more than ever. Remember to always buckle up when you’re in the car Â as a driver and as a passenger. Please remember to put children in the back seat of the car and in approved safety seats if younger than 8 years old.
To learn more about keeping your family safe, please contact Dauphin County SAFE KIDS Coalition, led by Penn State Children’s Hospital at 717-531-SAFE (7233).