Holiday Injury Prevention

The halls are decked and lights carefully strung, but did you know that could mean possible injuries this holiday season? Many injuries and home fires can occur during the winter season. Additionally, carbon monoxide poisoning, associated with gas stoves and generators, are at a higher risk during the cold months. But there’s no need to pack away the decorations, because unintentional injuries are preventable.

You can prevent injuries and damage to your home with the following tips:

Prevent a fire

  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant;
  • Natural trees look beautiful and smell great, but if they’re not watered regularly, the needles can dry out and pose a potential fire hazard. Make sure your tree has plenty of water by checking it regularly;
  • Keep trees away from heat sources such as space heaters and fireplaces. Always unplug lights before leaving your home or going to sleep;
  • Keep holiday candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and don’t forget to blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.  Never leave a candle burning unattended;
  • Always check electrical cords for signs of wear and make sure they are marked “UL,” meaning they have been tested and certified safe. Never overload outlets or extension cords; and  
  • Test your smoke alarms and make a fire escape plan with all family members, don’t forget your pets too.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home;
  • Do not leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in a partially or fully enclosed space or garage;
  • Never run a generator inside your home or any partially or fully enclosed space or garage; and
  • Install and check your carbon monoxide alarm batteries regularly.

You have the power to keep your holidays injury free. See the NFPA Public Service Announcement to learn how to safely decorate this year. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site on carbon monoxide poisoning to learn more about prevention and symptoms.

Originally published at

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