The holidays are fast approaching and all across the country, husbands are begrudgingly climbing up into attics, basements are being raided for storage boxes, and snowmen are showing up all over the house—even if there is not one flake on the ground. The joy of Christmas is defined as much by the journey as it is by the moment, but all that decorating can have a hint of danger to it if care is not taken.
Follow the helpful tips below to stay safe during this holiday season:
Pick the right tree.
Real trees add immense charm to a home during the season, but be sure to pick out the freshest tree you can find. The needles should feel very stiff and be a vivid green. They should be difficult to pull off the branches. A fresh tree will not lose its needles easily, and once a tree begins to ‘shed’, it is a good indication of dryness.
Keep the base of the tree filled with water to ensure longer life to your tree. Keep your tree away from fireplaces, heat sources, candles, lights, and any other objects that radiate heat. Once the needles pull off easily in your hands, it is time to discard your greenery for the year, despite what the calendar may say.
Check your lights.
Since lights are one of the key ingredients in our decorating strategy, be sure your lights are safe for use. Look each strand over for any exposed wiring or cracked coating. Look for the UL approval tag on each set. Be sure your outside lights are truly outside lights, and remove any damaged lights from the strand. There is nothing more beautiful than the twinkling of lights, but make safety first so the hazards are minimized.
Use ladders safely.
Whether it is those icicle lights around the roofline or that lighted Santa and his sleigh on the roof, some of our decorating takes us up to the higher altitudes. Be sure to use ladder safety whenever decorating the upper areas of your home. Place the ladder on stable ground, and do not climb higher than the recommended level on that ladder. Teamwork is the best policy, and never do any decorating with a ladder when you are home alone.
No one wants a new cast for Christmas, so exercise care when decorating. May your holiday season be filled with great joy!
Diane Simon, RN, CEN, is the Trauma Coordinator/Registrar for ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital.