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What Should I Know About Having a Safe Christmas?

Chestnuts roasting by fireplaces, ten electrical cords plugged into one socket via a couple extension cords, Christmas trees decked out with beautiful, but easily breakable, decorations. The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. They can also be one of the most dangerous. The chances for accidents seem to increase proportionally to how festive your holidays are. Having a safe Christmas isn't hard, however, if you know where to look for potential problems.

Celebrating safe Christmas begins with holiday cooking. The kitchen is where most holiday traditions are carried out. Cookies are baked and large meals are prepared. This is also where family tends to congregate during get-togethers. Without a little caution, this can be a danger hot zone. Watch for children who may, in their eagerness to help, grab a hot pot handle or try to open the oven door. Make sure that handles are turned away from the edge of the stove, and that sharp knives are all well out of reach. Keep the floor dry, to prevent slipping. Even small spills should be wiped up immediately.

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A Christmas tree, decorated with lights, tinsel, and ornaments, is one of the most beautiful sights of the season. If you have pets or young children in the house, however, keep their safety in mind when you pull out the decorations. Tinsel is a choking hazard for both children and pets. Ornaments that are breakable, have sharp edges, or parts that can be removed should be put above a child’s reach. Better yet, put them away for a few years. Make sure any cords coming off the tree are secured, and that the plug is inaccessible to kids. Also make sure all wires are in good shape and that the lights don’t get hot. Follow manufacturers' instructions about outlet safety. Don't overload your sockets.

If you are getting a real tree, keep it very well watered and away from any fireplaces or heating vents. Keep any candles away from the tree as well. Whether you have a real or artificial tree, make sure it is secured into a wide sturdy base so children and pets can’t knock the tree over. Another idea to ensure a safe Christmas is to use fishing line to secure the tree to the wall. Just wrap it around the upper half of the tree in a couple spots, then tie the strings to a couple of eyehooks set into the wall. No one will see the wire unless they look closely, and you will have a tree that is less likely to tip over.

Christmas plants can really add a festive feeling to a room. Seeing the stores begin to sell poinsettias is a sure sign that the holidays are right around the corner. Unfortunately, along with holly and mistletoe, they are very poisonous to children and pets who might try to eat them. A safe Christmas alternative is to buy silk flowers. Not only will they require less care, they will last a lot longer. If you need to have a real poinsettia plant to make your holidays complete, put it up well above where any children or animals can reach it.

Fireplaces can add some cheer and warmth to a cold and wintry night. Special fireplace fences can be put up to assure that children and pets stay out of the fire. Keep an eye on the fireplace anyway, because there is still a risk. Before lighting a fire, clear all paper and other potentially flammable objects away. Keep stockings set up high enough so they won’t catch fire. When getting the fireplace ready for the year, have a professional come and clean the flue and to make sure everything is in proper working order.

Holidays mean holiday parties. If you’re throwing a party, be courteous of the children other people may have, and prepare accordingly for their safety. If you are bringing children to a party, keep an extra close eye on them. Your hosts’ home may not be as safe as yours. Keep all alcohol out of the reach of children. If you drink, don’t drive. Have a sober friend give you a ride home, or call for a cab.

Having a safe Christmas is easy if you think ahead. Look for potential accidents before they happen, and prevent them. This does not need to infringe too much on holiday traditions and celebrations, however. Being attentive is the first step to preventing possible mishaps. Enjoy the holidays, and have a safe and merry Christmas.

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