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Deck the Halls – Safely

Although holiday decorations are festive and beautiful, they also do create a risk of personal injury to yourself, your guests, your pets, and especially your children. Holiday decorations pose a number of risks. To small children, they can be attractive and intriguing. Each year, a few children are admitted to emergency rooms because they have eaten decorations or have cut themselves on lights or ornaments. As well, each year people are admitted to emergency rooms with spinal cord injuries or other serious injuries as a result of putting up decorations. If you want to spread some holiday cheer in your home, you can deck the halls. Juts make sure you do so safely, by considering these tips:

1) Choose your holiday decorations carefully. Where possible, avoid candles, especially if you have children or pets. Since the holiday season is so hectic, many people do not have the time to really supervise candles correctly. Leaving candles burning can easily lead to serious burn injuries. As well, if you are looking for decorations, check to make sure that bulbs and ornaments are unbreakable and are made of plastic. If you have small children or pets, choose larger decorations which cannot easily be swallowed. Ensure that decorations do not have any small pieces that can easily be detached and swallowed. If you are hanging lights, check the cords to ensure that there is no damage that could result in an electrical fire. Where possible, switch to LED lights, which burn cooler and pose a smaller risk of burn injuries.

2) Put up your lights carefully. Usually, in order to hang lights outdoors, people need to climb onto ladders and onto their roofs in order to attach the tiny bulbs. Unfortunately, during this time of year, things can be a little slippery with fallen leaves and damp weather conditions. If you’re hanging holiday lights, use a sturdy ladder, make sure that you have someone helping you and holding the ladder at the bottom, and take your time. It is often safer to have professionals hang your outdoor lights for you. Indoors, as well, use extra caution and wear sturdy shoes when climbing up ladders to hang ornaments up high.

3) Hang your decorations using hooks or fasteners. Larger ornaments, such as wreaths, can cause injuries if they happen to topple over or fall. Also, some decorations, such as Christmas trees, can be hauled down by small children or pets, causing injuries. Secure your decorations carefully. Use larger hooks or nails to ensure that wreaths and other ornaments cannot fall down. For a tree, use a sturdy and broad tree stand that will make your tree more stable. Consider a smaller tree that is bottom heavy and therefore less likely to tip over.

4) Be careful of accidental poisonings. During the holiday time, we often use additional products, some of which can be deadly if ingested by children or pets. Poinsettia plants, for example are quite toxic, and fake Christmas snow spray can also be harmful if swallowed. Always check the ingredients of products you are using in your home, and consider using more natural products. If you know your child or pet likes to chew on items, place your tree in a closed room where you can supervise it more carefully.

5) Avoid slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Holiday decorations often mean more items underfoot, which sometimes means more falls. When putting out holiday decorations, make sure that cords do not stretch over large areas of space. Set your ornaments close to an outlet, so that the cord does not pose a tripping hazard. Clean up any spills promptly, especially when watering the tree. When putting up decorations consider their potential for trip and fall accidents. For example, avoid placing any sorts of decorations on stairs. Make sure that decorations are up high and visible, well off the floor.

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