HEALTH FEATURE ARCHIVE

Are You Holiday Safety Savvy?

Are there hidden hazards in your home?

Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. In addition, there are 11,600 candle-related fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1200 injuries and $173 million in property loss annually. Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage.

CPSC monitors holiday lights and decorations at stores nationwide. Since 2001, the Commission has prevented the import of 116,500 units of holiday lights that did not meet safety standards.

CPSC suggests following these tips to make your holiday a safe one:

Trees:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.


  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt 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 and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.