Christmas Tree Safety
This season, keep your home safe from some common Christmas-tree hazards by heeding these important tips:
Use a large, sturdy stand such as the Answer Stand sold at Bill’s Tree Sales so that small children can’t pull the tree down.
Keep your tree at least 3 feet from the fireplace, radiators and heating vents.
Hang sharp or breakable ornaments securely at the top where children and pets can’t reach them.
Avoid using artificial snow sprays, which can cause lung irritation if inhaled.
Keep all candles away from your tree.
Cut the lower branches so they don’t poke small children in the eye.
Keep heirloom painted ornaments on the top half of the tree since they may contain lead-based paint. Green floral wire, which can be twisted firmly around branches, is a great way to hang fragile ornaments.
Don’t place ornaments that are breakable, have small, detachable parts or metal hooks, or that look like food or candy, as well as candy canes or mistletoe on low branches because they could be a choking hazard for young children.
Holiday lights should be Underwriters’ Laboratories approved. Check for loose connections, broken outlets or frayed wires and throw away any damaged sets.
Don’t use more than three strings of lights on one extension cord.
Be sure to turn off all tree lights before going to bed or leaving your house. An electrical short could cause a fire.
Make sure every family member knows where your fire extinguisher is kept and how to use it in case of an emergency.
Whenever possible, keep pets out of the room in which the tree is placed, especially if you can't be there to supervise. Cats are notorious for leaping onto Christmas trees, especially when pursued by another pet. Keep the tree from toppling by tying it to a ceiling hook. Both cats and dogs can knock down and break glass ornaments, then cut themselves on the pieces. Pets may also gnaw on electrical cords for Christmas tree lights. So hide them when possible, or help prevent injury by purchasing a pet-proof conduit.
Never burn Christmas-tree branches in your fireplace. It can cause the buildup of creosote, a highly flammable compound.
The key to having a safe Christmas Tree is to buy a fresh tree and keep it fresh. Fresh Christmas trees that are kept watered are not easily combustible.