Homeowner's Academy

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Will You Fall Victim to These 8 Hidden Holiday Hazards?

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Dec 09, 2014

BrokenOrnaments-300x199The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year … as well as the most hazardous. From Christmas tree related fires to ladder falls, the holidays are not a time to relax home safety precautions.

Here are some holiday hazards to watch out for so that you may eat, sleep and be merry, not weary!

Lights Turned into Frights

While twinkling lights add holiday cheer to your home, installing them can sometimes result in injury, and even death, if proper precautions are not taken.

According to the CDC, more than 5,000 people are sent to the emergency room for holiday decorating related falls, and ladders are responsible for more than 40% of those accidents.

What to Do: Use proper ladder safety precautions when hanging lights in an elevated area, and if possible, turn installing holiday lights and decorations into a group activity among friends and family.

For more holiday light safety tips, click here.

Christmas Tree Crisis

To many Floridians, setting up a Christmas tree means the beginning of a merry and cheerful holiday season. Unfortunately, these symbols of holiday joy can also result in serious injury.

What to Do: When setting up your Christmas tree, place it in a sturdy, properly sized stand to prevent it from tipping over. If you’re using a real tree, keep the stand filled with water at all times.

Candle Chaos

Candles bring about an unmatched holiday ambiance. They set the mood for the best time of the year, provide warmth, and of course, you can’t forget about how fantastic they smell! As great as candles can be, their presence also greatly increases the risk of home fires.

What to Do: Opt for scented plug-ins and flameless candles instead of real candles to reduce the risk of home fires.

Faulty Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms can be a major lifesaver. Unfortunately, the life of a smoke alarm battery is not eternal. If not regularly checked, a smoke alarm can quickly become a fire liability failing to signal that burning ham in the oven.

What to Do: Check that your smoke alarm works properly before inviting guests over and starting your holiday cooking. Whether your smoke alarm just needs a quick battery change or it needs to be replaced, making sure it is functioning properly is key to preventing your home from becoming a fire zone during the holidays.

Fireplace Fiascos

While a cozy evening sipping on hot chocolate by the fire is the perfect way to spend chilly winter evenings, it is important to keep safety in mind when using your fireplace.

What to Do: Make sure your fire burns out completely before leaving the house or going to bed. Consider adding glass fireplace doors to prevent flames from extending into the living room and starting a fire.

Rotten Leftovers

One of the greatest parts about the holidays is the endless platters of leftovers. But if not properly handled, perishable food items can become breeding grounds for foodborne germs and lead to some very upset bellies. That’s not a fun way to spend your winter vacation!

What to Do: Put leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of preparation, placing them in shallow containers to allow them to cool faster.

BoxOpenerUnwrapping Made Unpleasant

Oh the joys of opening our kids’ heavy-duty sealed plastic presents! Not only are these hard-to-open packages annoying, they are also quite dangerous. A large percentage of holiday-related emergency room visits are a result of failed attempts to open product packaging, such as clamshells and shrink-wrapped items.

Image via Amazon.com

What to Do:
 When using scissors or a box opener, cut with the blades facing away from you, paying special attention to your fingers and hands. To make your life a bit easier, some stores even sell specialty tools designed for opening these well-sealed packages.

Broken Ornaments

While glass ornaments add an elegant touch to your Christmas tree, they can quickly become a danger to your family, and even your pets, if not handled with proper care. From young children tugging on them to pets choking on broken shards, glass ornaments are just hanging hazards waiting to cause harm.

What to Do: Keep breakable, glass ornaments hung on branches out of reach of small children. If an ornament breaks, carefully pick it up to prevent injuries caused by broken glass.