Important Saftey Tips to remember this Holiday Season
Posted on Nov 17th, 2009
Being prepared is a valuable gift you can give your family this holiday season. We hope these tips will help make your home peaceful and safe for everyone. Remember to use common sense and think ahead for possible dangers that are unique to your family. There is always something you can do to make your home better prepared and safer for the holidays.
Christmas trees can be a major fire hazard. We all have a responsibility to take precautions to prevent fires in our neighborhoods and communities. Here are a few basic ideas to keep your natural tree fresh and healthy, and to protect your family:
- Make sure the water level on the tree never drops below the bottom of the tree.
- Make sure your tree is securely fastened to the stand so it cannot be easily tipped over.
- Keep your tree away from heat sources such as a space heater or fireplace. Be sure the tree is also placed away from burning candles.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in a clearly visible place.
- Avoid placing your tree in high traffic areas or exits.
- If you choose to have an artificial tree, make sure it is fire retardant.
- Discard the tree as soon as it shows signs of drying out.
- It's recommend you not use tinsel. It is easy for children to swallow and can get wound around a small child's fingers, cutting off circulation.
- Glass ornaments should be placed high on the tree.
- Smaller ornaments should also be out of reach of children.
- Place non-breakable ornaments, ones without sequins or beads, on the lower branches. Tie them on with ribbon or string instead of hooks.
- Some plants such as mistletoe (and its berries), holly, and poinsettias, can also be toxic. Keep them away from babies and small children.
- Avoid using spray-on snow, which may give off harmful fumes.
- Put wrapping paper in the garbage immediately after opening presents. Dyes that are presDyes that are present in the paper can be toxic for small children, who may chew on the pieces of wrapping paper.
- Heavy stocking holders can be pulled down onto a child's head. Keep stockings up high, or use plastic hooks to hold them in place.
- Check for loose connections, frayed ends, bad electrical sockets and plugs, or other damaged wiring. Replace lights with any of these problems.
- Don't put more than three strands end to end--this can cause circuits to burn out.
- Turn lights off when you go to bed.
- Small, new lights are safer than the older, larger bulb style that generate more heat and dry out your tree faster.
- As you finish up your Christmas shopping for the children on your list, pay attention to the details that may make a toy dangerous for children to play with.
- "Think big" when choosing toys. Avoid small parts that could be a choking hazard.
- Look for stuffed animals with eyes, noses, or other decorations that are securely sewn on.
- Most toys have an age recommendation on the label. Suggest that gift-givers look for the appropriate age level for your child.
- Be sure to check batteries in the smoke detectors throughout your home.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in an accessible place such as the kitchen, the room where the Christmas tree will be standing, or near a fireplace.
- Be sure to lock your home when you are away. The holiday season is a common time when homes are broken into.
- Keep a first aid kit handy in case there are any accidents. Also include Burnfree dressings and gel.
- Be sure to have an emergency car kit in your car while traveling to and from friends and family.
- Keep your emergency kit near a main exit in your home.
- Have a family evacuation plan in place, in case of fire or other emergency.
Family Pets and Holiday Safety Tips
Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
- Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
- Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
Put the Meds Away
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.