Before lighting the menorah, switching on the Christmas lights or hanging up the mistletoe, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is encouraging those celebrating the holiday season to take caution when decorating.
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Between November and December 2015, six people died and an estimated 14,000 people ended up in the hospital due to holiday-decoration related causes, with many of those injuries due to falls, cuts, back strains, accidental ingestion of a foreign objects, according to the CPSC.
Check out these tips on how to decorate safely.
Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree
While many artificial trees are fire resistant, their natural counterparts are naturally more susceptible to catching fire. The CPSC encourages homeowners to regularly inspect Christmas trees and make sure they are fresh.
But how to tell? Fresh trees will be greener, needles will be harder to pull from the branches, branches will not break too easily and trunks will likely be sticky with resin. Always make sure the tree stand is filled with water, and of course, make sure to keep trees away from any heat source, including fireplaces and radiators, as they are more likely to dry out the tree quicker.
Make sure small decorations are hung out of reach of young children, and avoid any tree decorations that may look like candy, as young children may not know the difference and attempt to eat them.
Take care when hanging any delicate decorations that may break easily. Lacerations were among the top reported decoration–related injuries last year, according to the CPSC. Also use caution on ladders, as 41 percent of holiday decorating injuries involve falls, and half of those are from ladders.
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Think that snow-in-a-can looks pretty? While it likely adds a magical touch to a home, the artificial snow can accidentally be ingested and cause serious irritation to the lungs, so read all directions carefully before using.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Every December, Americans unpack yards and yards of tangled Christmas lights and spend hours decorating their trees and their homes, both inside and out. But more often than not, people don't inspect these wires before each holiday season, which may have become frayed or loose over the years.
And as this CPSC video shows, a spark from one of these old wires can quickly turn your beautiful holiday home into a blazing inferno. If concerned, purchase new lights or ensure current ones haven't become damaged from years of use. Additionally, make sure not to use more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
Cold December Night
Looking to stay warm over the winter by lighting a fire, or simply want to light the Menorah candles? The CPSC reminds the public to make sure all flues are open and always use a fire screen when burning wood. Keep any burning candles out of reach of pets and kids, who may accidentally knock them over, and keep all open flames away from trees, decorations curtains and furniture.