Is Your Christmas Tree Endangering Your Kids?

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The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that hospital emergency room visits occurring due to holiday decorating accidents have been on the rise, with an estimated 15,000 injuries just in 2012, according to a CBS News report. Maintain holiday cheer when you bring in the Christmas tree to welcome seasonal spirit into your home by always keeping safety in mind.

A  decorated tree can be a serious hazard for domestic pets. Items used in decorating — the shiny tinsel, dangly and delicate glass ornaments, and artificial snow — are a lovely part of the tradition and beautiful to look at, but tempting to dogs and cats. If ingested, the animal can choke, suffer airflow blockage and suffocate. Never deck a tree with dog bones, and place the larger ornaments near the tree base. Smaller, more fragile ornaments are safer near the top of the tree. Be cautious with light cords, too, placing them well out of the way so that pets and toddlers can’t pull on them and bring the tree crashing down, or chew on them and risk shock or electrocution. As you decorate, step back and take a careful look to make sure there are no reachable hazards.

In the years between 2007-2011 fire departments responded annually to an average of 230 home fires started by Christmas trees. Tragically, there was an average 6 deaths each year, 22 injuries, and more than $18 million dollars in direct property damage as a result. The heat from a nearby fireplace, radiator, or vent can dry the tree out quickly. Place your tree away from these heat sources and check the water level daily. Keeping the tree stand filled with water goes a long way in helping the tree stay fresh. Where you place the tree is important: don’t block doorways and keep it out of the path of heavy foot traffic.

Falls, lacerations and back strains happen too often this time of year, so use ladders safely as you place the highest ornaments and add your tree topper. It’s always a good idea to have a spotter when you’re climbing a ladder. Make it beautiful, and keep it safe this year.