Decorating for the Christmas season is something millions of people partake in every year, and your Christmas tree is a holiday staple. Getting into the Christmas spirit by decorating is great fun, but you may be unaware that Christmas trees can be huge dangers to your home. However, if you know the risks associated with Christmas trees, then you can be prepared in the event of an accident.
Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We want your holiday season to be happy and bright, so here are 4 Christmas tree hazards you should familiarize yourself with:
- Both Real and Artificial Christmas Trees Can Catch Fire
Many people are unaware that real or artificial trees can catch fire and cause serious burn injuries or home fires. You can prevent burns and fires from happening by:
- Selecting a fresh Christmas tree if you are opting for a real one. Look for green needles that do not shed easily.
- Keep an eye on your tree’s water level daily and make sure that it does not dry out.
- If you are going with an artificial tree, check the labels before you purchase it to make sure that it is flame-retardant.
- Keep your real or artificial tree at least three feet away from heat sources, like candles, fireplaces, radiators, heat vents, lamps, and space heaters.
- Turn your Christmas tree lights off anytime you are away from home or when going to bed.
- If your real tree starts showing signs that it is drying out, then it is time to dispose of your tree. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that 37% of Christmas tree fires start in January, so keep checking on your tree after Christmas.
- Christmas Lights Can Be Hazardous
Many people opt for string lights when decorating their trees, mantles, etc., but if not used properly, these lights can lead to electrocution injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says 20% of holiday decoration injuries that are treated in emergency rooms in the U.S. are related to Christmas tree lights. Here are some Christmas light tips to keep in mind when decorating:
- Check that the lights you plan to use are designed for indoor use.
- Do not use lights that have frayed or punctured cables, broken bulbs, or other signs that they are defective.
- Do not overload your outlets – use an extension cord and do not connect more than three standard-size sets of Christmas lights to one extension cord.
- If you have a real tree, then keep extension cords away from the tree’s water source.
- Never place cords under rugs as they could overheat.
- Never try to squeeze cords behind furniture where they can pinch – this can lead to fraying and cause the cords to short.
- Be Mindful of Slip and Fall Accidents When You Are Decorating
For bigger trees, you may require a ladder to help you reach the top. It is easy to fall off a ladder when decorating, so proceed with caution when decorating.
- Do not use a chair to reach the top of your tree – ladders or step stools are much better options. Chairs are not designed for people standing on them, making them more susceptible to toppling over.
- Have someone else nearby who can spot you and hand you ornaments and other décor that you may need. The less you must move around while using a ladder or step stool, the better.
- Keep any cords out of walkways so that no one will trip and fall.
- Decorate Safely for Children and Pets
Small children and pets will be very interested in your holiday décor, so keep these tips in mind so that you can prevent children and pet injuries during the holidays:
- Extension cords need to be out of sight and out of reach. Kids can get tangled in them and pets may chew on them.
- Ensure that your tree is secure in its base, as kids or pets that push or pull on the tree could cause it to tip over, resulting in injuries.
- Watch that pets and kids do not drink from your real tree’s waters. Any fertilizers or bacteria present could upset your child or pet’s stomach.
- The best thing you can do with kids and pets around is to not leave them unattended around your tree.