Christmas is the most joyful time of the year — after all we can’t think of any other holiday that combines family bonding with gifts, delicious food and festive decor! Sounds great, right? But here’s a reality check: it’s all fun and holiday games until someone ends up at the ER. Here are common Christmas related injuries to be mindful of so your festivities don’t come to a sudden halt.
1. Christmas trees, real or fake, are fire hazards
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 210 burning Christmas trees per district. While tree fires are not extremely common, they typically result in disaster. In most cases, once the tree catches fire it’s only a matter of seconds before your house catches fire. Preventing tree fires is not difficult — just remember to keep your tree at least 3 feet away from heaters, fireplaces and vents. If you have a real tree, make sure you continue to water it until you remove it from your home as drier trees tend to catch fire easier. It is also important that your tree stand is stable and reliable so your tree doesn’t fall over and end up on top of a heater or a vent.
2. Don’t overdo the lights
It’s important to know that a long rope of lights takes up a good amount of power. That said, be mindful not to overload your power outlets or power strips with too many lights. The packaging for your lights should inform you of the amount of power output, but a rule of thumb is to avoid plugging more than 3 lights to one power strip. Before leaving lights on during the holiday season, check along each rope of lights for any fraying or stripped away plastic as this is a fire hazard.
Candles may look gorgeous, but the reality is that they are the biggest fire hazard of all. In fact, candles are to blame for over 50% of all house fires during the Christmas season. While candles can set the mood for a cozy and beautiful Christmas night, you must make sure to keep candles at least 12 inches away from flammable objects. We recommend placing your candles on flame retardant trays or plates. Finally, never leave lit candles unattended, even for a quick few minutes.
3. Only burn wood in your fireplace
As tempting as it may be to toss an ex-boyfriends letter into the fire during an emotional Christmas moment, we recommend throwing it in the garbage instead. Fireplaces are designed to to light logs of wood only. Whatever you do, avoid burning wrapping paper at all costs as it is typically mixed with various metals, which can be very harmful if burnt and inhaled. At the end of your night, wait until your fire has completely fizzed out before retiring to your bed. We recommend placing the remaining ashes in a metal trash bin at least 30 feet away from your house.
4. Dispose of broken ornaments
Have slippery fingers? If an ornament breaks, immediately and thoroughly sweep the area where the ornament has broken. Wrap the pieces up in a newspaper or a towel before tossing the remains into the garbage. It’s always a good idea to sweep the floor twice as Christmas tends to mean there is greater foot traffic in your home, which means there’s a more likely chance someone will get hurt if any glass or plastic has been missed. There are also likely to be more children and I don’t think any of us want to think about children getting their hands on broken or sharp objects.
We hope these tips help keep your family safe during such a beautiful time of the year.
From the Parrish Law Firm to your family — Happy Holidays!