Christmas trees are a beautiful way to welcome in the spirit of the holidays, but, be warned, they bring with them an element of danger. As the White House celebrates the arrival of the holiday tree, it's time to for a refresher course in holiday decorating safety.
Emergency room visits due to holiday decorating accidents have been on the rise for the past four years, according to The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2012 alone, the CPSC estimated there were 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency departments nationwide.
While falling from ladders and stepping on broken ornaments may look hilarious on "Home Alone," they aren't so funny in real life, and they can stop holiday cheer in its tracks.
In order to safeguard yourself from holiday decorating disasters, here are a few things you should be looking out for once a Christmas tree makes its way into your home:
1. Christmas trees can kill pets. The American Christmas Tree Association's website states: "Your decorated Christmas tree is a waiting hazard for domestic pets both big and small. Items such as sparkly tinsel, dangly garlands, sharp glass ornaments and artificial snow, while lovely to admire, can be dangerous gateways for pet accidents. If ingested, your holiday decorations can choke your special critter causing airflow blockage and suffocation."
Solution: Don't deck the tree with dog bones. The ACTA says to place larger and less "tempting" ornaments near your tree base. Smaller, more fragile items are safer near the top of the tree.
2. Christmas trees can catch on fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of six deaths, 22 injuries, and $18.3 million in direct property damage annually.
While the living room fireplace may be an ideal venue for Santa to stuff stockings, the heat from the fire, vents, and radiators dry out live trees quickly.
Solution: Keep your tree away from heat sources. Be sure to monitor water levels daily, and keep the tree stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of foot traffic, and do not block doorways with the tree, says the CPSC.
3. Falling down on the decorating job caused some of the most frequently reported holiday decorating injuries according to the CPSC. They reported that in 2012, holiday decorating incidents seen in emergency departments involved falls, lacerations, and back strains.
Solution: Heed the warning labels on ladders and have a spotter. Holding your husband steady on the ladder is a nice way to show your spouse he's supported this season. For more safety tips, read CPSC's On Safety blog, "Ladder Safety 101."