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Children & Holiday Safety

With the arrival of the holidays, the American Academy of Pediatrics is making sure that parents know the best ways to be safe when it comes to children and holiday decorations. While it can be tempting to overwhelm your senses with candles and colorful string lights, it’s important to make child safety a priority just like any other time of year. Avoid fire risks and other safety hazards by understanding what to look for.

Trees

If you use an artificial tree, make sure that is labeled as fire-resistant. Any decorations placed on the tree should be labeled the same way. Avoid placing the tree by a heat source, such as a portable heater, furnace, or radiator.

If you opt for a live tree, make sure that it is fresh. When you are choosing a tree, gently shake it to see if needles fall to the ground. If there are a lot of needles that fall off of the tree, it is already starting to dry out and isn’t fresh. Once you get your fresh tree home, make sure that the stand is always filled with water.

Lights

For your indoor lights on the tree, test each string and make sure all bulbs are working and that there are no loose connections or broken sockets. For outdoor lights, check that they are certified for outdoor use. Hang these lights up with hooks or insulated staples, and only plug them in to circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent shocks.

Other Decorations

If you light candles in your home for the season, keep an eye on them. Do not leave them unattended, or go to bed with candles still burning. Never place a candle flame near the tree.

If you have small children, avoid breakable or sharp holiday decorations altogether. If the decorations have small or removable parts, keep them out of reach of children who could choke on them.

There are many plants that look festive, but can actually be dangerous. Jerusalmen cherry, holly berry, and mistletoe berries are actually poisonous if they are ingested.

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