The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) posted today about the potential dangers of holiday decorating, noting that thousands of patients are treated in United States ER’s annually due to decoration related injuries. As we all start taking dusty boxes out of our attics and garages to deck the halls and jingle the bells, the CPSC wants to make sure we know how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
“Safety should be part of all your decorating efforts,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle. “Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water, keep lit candles away from flammable items, and use caution when standing on a ladder or a chair to hang decorations.”
Holiday Decorating Injuries
CPSC estimates that last year, during November and December, there were 14,700 decorating related injuries, treated in emergency rooms, nationwide. That’s and average of about 240 injuries per day. The most frequent of those injuries were falls (41%), then lacerations (10%), and back strains (5%). Three of the fall incidents resulted in death.
CPSC also estimates that fires caused by Christmas trees and candles during the months of November and December accounted for approximately $57.9 million in property loss from 2012-2014.
CPSC Safety Recommendations
Follow these CPSC safety tips to keep your family safe: (taken from the CPSC website)
Trees and Decorations
- Buying a live tree? Check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and its needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- Setting up a tree at home? Place it away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Heated rooms rapidly dry out live trees, 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.
- Buying an artificial tree? Look for the label: “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, the tree is more resistant to catching fire.
- Decorating a tree in homes with small children? Avoid sharp or breakable decorations. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of small children who could swallow or inhale small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to try to eat them.
- Keep burning candles within sight. Extinguish all candles before leaving the room.
- Keep candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface where children and pets cannot reach them or knock them over. Place lit candles away from items that can catch fire such as trees, decorations, curtains and furniture.
- Only use lights tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Lights for both indoor and outdoor usage must meet strict standards that testing laboratories are able to verify.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets and do not use electric lights on a metallic tree.
- Check each extension cord to make sure it is rated for the intended use and is in good condition. Do not use cords with cuts or signs of fraying.
- Check outdoor lights for labels showing the lights have been certified for outdoor use and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.
- Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown onto wood fires. Fire salts contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if swallowed. Keep them away from children.
- Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result because wrappings can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
- CPSC recommends having working smoke alarms on every floor of the home and in every bedroom. The early warning provided by smoke alarms saves lives.
- Test your smoke alarms every month to make sure they are working properly.
- Change batteries in smoke alarms every year.
- You can also find more fire safety tips and information in our fire safety information center.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling personal injury cases involving serious injuries resulting from defective products. Our extremely skilled team of personal injury attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you have been injured by a defective product, or have endured any other type of personal injury, contact the personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.