Top 10 Tips For Christmas Tree Safety

Christmas tree safety is a primary consideration when decorating the house for the holidays. All too often, we hear news stories of a tragic house fire or an electrocution that claimed someone’s life or destroyed a family’s property. While most Christmas trees today, artificial or real, can be decorated and enjoyed fairly safely, there are important guidelines to keep in mind to help prevent accidents and problems. Decorative lights, tree stands, artificial tree coatings, and holiday bulbs should be carefully handled. The following tips could enhance your family’s protection if you are concerned about Christmas tree safety in your home during the Christmas season.

1. Check Christmas lights annually. 

Although you may have a sentimental attachment to Christmas lights of yore, especially those that belonged to parents or grandparents, don’t assume they remain safe to use each year. Plan on checking your lights annually before putting them on your Christmas tree. You can untangle strands of light across the floor or drape them over furniture, and then plug them in to see if all the bulbs work. Do not use a light strand where one or more bulbs blink off and on (unless they’re supposed to), or if the cord is worn or frayed.
2. Keep your home’s electric up to code.
If you live in an older home, or if your property has sustained significant damage from natural catastrophes from weather or the environment (storms, avalanches, earthquakes), have a licensed, certified electrician check your electric to make sure it is still working properly. Never overburden your electric system with Christmas lights if the system is weak or struggling, as it could lead to a fire.

3. Use appropriate outdoor holiday decorations.

If you decide to decorate your home’s exterior, don’t use indoor Christmas decorations. Shop for the exterior or outdoor holiday decorations that can be safely used on the porch, around windows, or in trees on your property. If you’re in doubt about which ones to use, ask a store associate or check the product’s package directions. Use an insulated outdoor extension cord, if needed, rather than the kind that is used indoors for household appliances.

4. Make sure the tree stand is sturdy and reliable.

Whether you are using an age-old tree stand or have just bought a new one, check to be sure your Christmas tree fits securely in the base. Tree stands work in a variety of ways, so you may need to check for tightened screws or other mechanisms as well as view the tree from several angles to be sure it is straight and sturdy. Keep the stand and tree away from family traffic so that it will be less likely to take a hit and possibly tip over.

5. Handle glass decorations with caution.
Glass ornaments are gorgeous and make delightful keepsakes from one year to the next. But when they break, those made of delicate or fine glass can shatter into dozens of tiny pieces that are hard to clean and may injure young skin. You might want to spread newspaper or an old blanket on the floor around the tree while attaching bulbs to make sure that if any do break, they will be easy to clean up instead of getting tangled in the carpet or scratching a wooden floor.

6. Keep cats and toddlers away from the tree.

While decorating your Christmas tree, or afterward, take care to protect small children and pets from climbing into the tree and getting hurt by the lights or ornaments. Parents discipline kids and animals in a variety of ways, but make sure your dependents understand the need to keep away from the tree, which will help to prevent accidents and injuries.

7. Avoid getting a tree, artificial or real, that does not fit your home.

Christmas is a beautiful holiday, and people often get caught up in selecting the largest tree and the brightest bulbs to help celebrate the season. Just remember that an overly tall tree may not stand upright, and one that is overly decorated is prone to losing a bulb or two on the floor, leading to breakage and possible problems. Although you might be able to trim a live tree, it may be difficult to adjust an artificial tree, so keep this in mind when selecting one for your living space.

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