6 Habits for Safer Holiday Decorating

Though the snow is not piling up (a fact that many are happy about), the holiday season is here. Mild weather has many heading outside for some last-minute decorating, but forgetting to hang your stockings with care can lead to an unwanted trip to the emergency room. Keep your family and home safe by following these safety tips:

1. Inspect all Christmas light strands: Check for exposed wires, cracked lamp assemblies, or melted or loose connections. Discard any strand that has an issue. Faulty lights can put children, adults and pets at risk for electrocution or could start a fire.

2. Be a one-and-done type person: Never use more than one extension cord to light your tree or decorations. Make sure it is long enough to reach the outlet without being too long as this can be a tripping hazard. Accidental falls are one of the number one reasons for an emergency room visit. (Read 10 Tips for Preventing Falls at Home)

3. Turn your lights out: Especially when going to bed or leaving the house. You’ll want to be awake and present should something go wrong.

4. Keep your life tree maintained: If a real Christmas tree is a family tradition, remember fresh is always best and be sure to water it as directed.

5. Practice outdoor decorating safety: When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters. Any exposed wiring could electrify the metal parts of your house, posing a danger to you and the safety of your home. Use insulated tape or plastic clips instead of metal nails or tacks to hold them in place. And be careful while on the ladder!

6. Test your smoke alarms: While we cannot prevent some incidents, we can control the outcome a bit. Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work, and be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home — especially near sleeping areas.

Have a fabulous and safe holiday season!


Diane SimonDiane Simon, RN, CEN is the Trauma Coordinator/Registrar for ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital.