Louisiana may never be graced with a white Christmas, but we like to decorate!
However, it’s important to always use caution when decorating your house or apartment this winter. Nothing can ruin a holiday faster than having to spend the day in the emergency room!
Putting up the Christmas tree may seem like a harmless task, but an estimated 173,000+ people were injured by Christmas trees, lights, and other holiday decorations between 2007-2016, according to one study.
That doesn’t mean you can’t decorate to your heart’s content! But it’s important to follow a few simple safety guidelines when you pull out the box of holiday decorations this year.
6 Christmas Decoration Do’s and Don’ts
Keep these tips in mind while preparing your home this year, whether you are expecting guests for the holiday or simply to keep yourself and your family safe.
- DO keep pets and small children away from your Christmas tree—Children may accidentally knock over trees when playing nearby, and cats are especially known to climb Christmas trees. A toppled tree can land on someone and cause serious injuries, and broken ornaments can cause injuries if someone steps on them.
- DO steady your ladder—Climbing a ladder is dangerous any time of the year, and especially when the ground may be slick with ice. Test your ladder before using it to hang decorations, make sure to place it on a firm and flat surface, and if possible, ask someone to hold the ladder steady from the bottom while you climb.
- DO use a surge protector for electrical decorations—Between Christmas tree lights, outdoor lights, and decorations and toys that light up and make noise, you may start to run out of outlets this holiday season. Multi-plug adapters with surge protectors protect your home’s wiring from damage due to overloaded circuits.
- DON’T create a tripping hazard with wires and cables—With all the lights and decorations you have plugged in, in addition to all the usual items, your home may become a jumble of electrical cables. Make sure all cables, outside and inside, don’t lie where someone could walk by and trip on them. Outside, run electrical cables along gutters, eaves, and the natural lines of your house. Inside, run them along walls.
- DON’T leave candles burning unattended—Many people love to light candles around their homes during Christmastime to give them a cozy feeling and lend their rooms a holiday fragrance like sugar cookies or pine needles. However, candles are a major cause of house fires. Always remember to blow out any candle before you leave the room, and place them out of reach of children and pets.
- DON’T place your Christmas tree close to a heat source—Around 160 home fires are started by Christmas trees every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. When live trees become dried out, their fire risk increases, but even synthetic trees and well-watered live trees can be fire hazards when exposed to significant heat, such as from a space heater placed too close by, or to open flames, such as sparks from a fireplace. Faulty wiring on Christmas tree lights can also start fires, so inspect string lights carefully for cracked bulbs or fraying before placing them on your tree.