Twinkly lights, candles, holiday
trees and plants, ornaments and other decorations are an important part
of holiday celebrations. Besides being festive and fun, the decorations
your family brings out every year can help children feel connected to
family traditions. To help make sure your decorations are safe, the
American Academy of Pediatrics offers some tips:
purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. The needles should be hard
to pull off, and should not break when you bend them. When you tap the
tree on the ground, only a few needles should fall off. Cut a few inches
off the bottom of the trunk before putting it in the stand, and be sure
to keep the stand filled with water.
- If you have an artificial tree, make sure it's labeled "Fire Resistant."
setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or
portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not
- Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
all lights before hanging them on a tree or in your home, even if you
have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there
are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
cautious about trimmings that may contain lead. Choose tinsel or
artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded materials. Light strands may
contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high
amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who
might try to put lights in their mouths, and wash your hands after
- Before using lights outdoors, check
labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold
lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not
nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them. Plug all
outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit
interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- When lighting
candles, remove flammable materials from the area, and place the candles
where they will not be knocked over. Never leave a burning candle
unattended. Do not use lighted candles on a tree or near other
evergreens. For more fire safety tips, listen to "Holiday Fire Safety" on HealthyChildren.org.
homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that
are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of
the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small
pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a
young child to eat them.
- Wear gloves to avoid eye and
skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow
container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating
with artificial snow sprays.
- Remove all wrapping
papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas
after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking
hazards to a small child, or can cause a fire if near flame.
potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations, including mistletoe
berries, Jerusalem cherry, and holly berry, away from children.
Please feel free to use them in any print, online or broadcast story, with appropriate attribution of source.
© 2017 - American Academy of Pediatrics