During the holiday season, we tend to spend more time in our homes – entertaining, decorating, cooking and celebrating. But some of our most time-honored holiday traditions come with a heaping side of safety hazards. Many insurance companies report higher rates of house fires, break-ins and other accidents between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This year, don’t just prep for the holidays by shopping and tree-trimming. Here are 5 home safety tips to help you stay vigilant of yuletide dangers.
1.Cook Carefully – Cooking is a year-round activity – true. Still, during the winter holidays, meals are bigger and more elaborate than ever which may mean more room for error. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the U.S. so try to create those festive feasts with as few distractions as possible. Keep all plastic wrappers and cloths away from the stove. If you’re taking your first tasty foray into turkey frying, do so outdoors on level ground, at least 10 feet from any buildings.
2.Learn Lighting Safety – Strings of lights and tapered candles make holiday time magical. For a hazard-free season, it’s important not to mount them haphazardly. Always opt for hooks or insulated staples for your outdoor lights as opposed to nails or tacks which can dig into the wires and turn your lights off when you’re asleep or away from the house in case of sudden shortages. When it comes to the tree, don’t use electric lights on metallic trees and position candles away from live tree branches.
3.Avoid Hazardous Décor – While live trees and trimmings are a favorite for many, these décor elements can lead to irreparable damage. Reduce the risk of tree-related incident by watering your tree regularly. Dry trees are much more flammable than their well-watered counterparts. Also, it’s best to make all tree trimmings non-flammable and lead-free, too. Last but not least, remember to keep fragile decorations out of kids’ reach.
4.Setup Home Security – Not every home comes equipped with an alarm system yet many homeowners with alarms fail to use it consistently. Activate your alarm on when leaving the home and tuck away any valuables you wouldn’t want tampered with. If you plan on traveling during the season, enlist the help of a house sitter whom you can trust or ask a neighbor to keep careful watch out for suspicious activity around your home. As a final pre-trip precaution, never share specific travel plans with strangers and refrain from broadcasting personal information on social media.
5.Protect Children and Pets – Even if you’re following safety tips to a T, kids and pets can find plenty to get into. Pets in particular may be tempted to chew on decorative plants, garlands and tinsel. Curb their curiosity by putting these items out of sight or eliminating them from your décor altogether. While poinsettias have received a bad rap as a poisonous holiday plant, mistletoe, holly and Christmas roses have potentially poisonous properties as well, so place them well out of reach of curious fingers and paws. Finally, when enjoying an open fire or a cozy space heater, make sure that furry tails are kept at a safe distance.
Do you have any home safety tips to share? Leave a comment below!