Be Safe This Season
Here are some suggestions from the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics for keeping your family safe during the holiday season:
* When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.”
* When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and when bent they do not break. The trunk end of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
* When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, vents or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
* Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water.
Decorative Lights — Inside and Out
* Check all tree lights — even if new — before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
* Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
* Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure the lights have been certified for outdoor use. String them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails.
* Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
* Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
* Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
* Use care with fire salts, which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
* Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
Visiting Friends and Relatives
* Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could arise early and choke on leftover foods or ingest alcohol or tobacco products left within reach.
* Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Watch for danger spots.
* Traveling, shopping for gifts and other holiday activities can all increase your child’s stress levels. Keeping your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and nap times, can help you and your family enjoy the holidays and reduce stress for everyone.