Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

Now that the holidays are here, there’s nothing better that to see beautiful decorations livening up your house and making a more festive atmosphere. Following a few simple tips can make sure that your holidays are problem free!

Trees:

  1. Our Christmas tree, ready for Santa!If you use an artificial tree, make sure it’s certified as fire resistant.
  2. Live trees are preferred by many, but can be more labor intensive. If you do opt for a live tree, keep it watered, keep it away from heat sources like radiators and fireplaces, and make sure it doesn’t block doorways or other foot traffic.
  3. If you choose one of the metallic trees, don’t use electric lights on them. Faulty lights can electrically charge the tree, causing an electrocution hazard to anyone who touches it. Instead, light the tree from above or beneath with colored lights.
  4. If necessary, use thin guy wires to keep the tree stable, especially if small children or pets are around and might tip the tree over.

Decorations:

  1. Christmas decorationsArtificial snow spray can cause lung irritation in some people, so read the usage directions carefully.
  2. Tinsel can be a fire hazard and can also be a choking hazard for small children. Use it with caution.
  3. Avoid using decorations that look edible. Children might think they’re the real thing, with unfortunate results.
  4. Never use lighted candles on a tree. Back in the pre-electricity days, candles were used a lot on trees, and people kept a bucket of water nearby just in case. That did not stop many houses from catching on fire, however!
  5. Avoid dangling power cords and overloading electrical outlets with too many cords. People can trip over them, and they can be a fire hazard.
  6. Try not to use decorations that are sharp, breakable, or have many moving parts.

Holiday Plants: There are many lovely plants that people like to display during the holidays; some are OK, others not so much:

  1. Poinsettia, not all that bad after all!Poinsettias – these were originally thought to be highly toxic. While eating them may make you ill or vomit, they are no longer considered as much of a threat as in years past.
  2. Mistletoe – this, on the other hand, can be dangerous for people and pets, even deadly. Keep it out of the reach of little ones and pets, and if the leaves or berries are ingested, seek immediate medical attention.
  3. Holly – eating just 20 holly berries can cause death. The leaves and bark are also toxic, so keep this out of the way of children and pets.
  4. Amaryllis and Daffodils – Common holiday gifts, eating the bulbs of these showy plants can cause abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmias, and convulsions. More likely to be eaten by pets than children, the toxins in the bulbs and leaves are harmful to humans as well.
  5. Cyclamen – These flowers are also more of a concern to pets than humans, but eating them can still cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and paralysis.
  6. Christmas trees – Though not deadly, they are mildly toxic. The biggest concern, however, is the possibility of the needles puncturing the gastro-intestinal tract of a pet.
  7. Jerusalem cherry – Though not a common sight in holiday homes, they are toxic and can cause mild gastric upset in humans. The berries are highly toxic to dogs, cats, and some birds though, so use caution in bringing this plant into a home with animals present.

Follow the above tips and you can ensure that your holiday home is a safe and healthy one for you, your children and your pets!

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