With Thanksgiving right around the corner, people will begin turning their attention Christmas decorating and holiday parties shortly thereafter. The holidays not only bring new safety hazards into the house, but the excitement of them distracts even the most wary. Below are a few hints to help keep you safe for the season.
- Trees – Live trees require lots of watering and even then they will dry out. Place them well away from any heat sources. Don’t burn discarded trees in the fireplace as it can lead to creosote build-up in the chimney. Instead consider taking it to a recycling center or compost it for the garden.
- Fireplaces – Of course by this time of the year you have had your chimney swept and inspected. Don’t be tempted to reduce the landfill by burning wrapping paper or other paper products in it. Besides the flash fire they produce being dangerous, they could have coatings that produce unsafe fumes when burned. Check for opportunities to recycle paper and plastic products to ease your guilt.
- Smoke Alarms – Check all smoke alarms to make sure they are functioning. Replace batteries at least twice a year even if they are still working. Install a carbon monoxide detector for added safety.
- Candles – Keep candles away from all combustibles and extinguish when leaving the room. Place them so they are away from areas where they can be knocked over. The coffee table is just the right height for Fido’s tail to do damage. Don’t forget to stow away the matches or lighters that could be temptations for inquisitive children.
- Lights – Check all strands for any damage and for the UL approved label. Turn them off when going to bed or leaving the house. Don’t run any wires under carpets and don’t overload the circuits.
- Decorations – Check decorations for small pieces that could be a choking hazard for children or pets.
- Guests – Don’t assume that your guests know what you know. Remind them not to place their gloves on the space heater for drying or throw anything in the fire in the fireplace. Ask them to help keep the kids safely out of the kitchen while food is being prepared. If you have overnight guests, review your household escape plan with them in case of emergency.
The days grow shorter and the nights become colder, and before you know it the holidays are upon us. Even small household accidents become tragedies when they involve your family or guests. Entertaining overnight guests may create a little extra stress for the household. Take time to prepare your home for the holidays, so everyone can be nestled all snug in their beds.
1. Prepare the Family – With all the excitement of pending visitors, every household member needs to know what to expect. Try to keep the everyday routine as normal as possible. Remind everyone of the changes that may have to be made to keep the guests comfortable and safe. This may mean giving up a bed or room to grandparents or putting toys with small parts away where toddlers can’t reach them. If guests will be coming and going while you are not home, you may need to inform the neighbors so that there will be no problems with mistaken identity.
2. Prepare the Guests – Once your visitors have arrived, review your family emergency escape plan with them. Show them where the fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are kept. Keep essential phone numbers nearby or program their cell phones. If it’s necessary to use a space heater, instruct them on its safe operation. If they will be on their own in the kitchen, review the workings of appliances like the stove, toaster, and coffee pot.
3. Prepare the House – Keep the outside walkways clear of snow and ice and also well lit. Remove any hazards that could cause tripping like throw rugs or runners. Locate nightlights to help nighttime navigation. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and install grab bars if necessary. To protect youngsters, lock up anything toxic, like cleaning supplies and medicines. If you are not used to having children around, you may need to seek help in childproofing the house. Inspect smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working.
4. Prepare the Decorations – Consider using flameless candles. If you must light up, keep candles high enough that pets and children can’t reach them but away from draperies and curtains. Place extension cords away from foot traffic, but do not place them under carpeting or area rugs. Be aware of the placement of glass ornaments so they are away from both pets’ and toddler’s reach. Refrain from using tinsel around pets and children as it can be toxic. Be aware that some holiday plants like poinsettias can be poisonous. Check with your guests about allergy information. Your beautiful live Christmas tree could cause them constant sneezing and wheezing.
Keeping these tips in mind, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!