How to Safely Put Up Holiday Decorations
Decorating for the holidays is a tradition for many families, but it can also be dangerous. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that people putting up their own holiday decorations during the 2017 holiday season resulted in around 240 injuries per day. Because putting up holiday decorations often involves working in high spaces, such as roofs and windows, serious falls are common. In addition, the holiday season puts homes at high risk of damaging and even fatal fires due to flammable decorations.
At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Indiana personal injury lawyers know that any type of work around the house has the potential to lead to injuries. But putting up holiday decorations is one of the more dangerous activities that you can do in or around your home, especially if you don’t take the proper precautions. Thankfully, you can significantly reduce your risks by following just a few simple steps—and avoiding a few other common mistakes.
What to Do and What NOT to Do When Decorating This Holiday Season
Decorating your home for the holidays is a fun, festive activity that can be enjoyed by your entire family. But without being safety-minded, a fun-filled afternoon can quickly turn tragic. It’s important to never underestimate the danger of putting up holiday decorations and to always take the necessary precautions.
When decorating your home this year, make sure that you DO:
- Anchor and secure your Christmas tree—Christmas trees are a major source of messes, injuries, and even house fires (when using live trees) during the holidays. First, you should make sure your Christmas tree is properly anchored to its base. Non-anchored trees can be easily pushed or pulled over by pets and small children. Next, you should block access to your tree by placing it away from furniture and putting up a small gate around its base. Avoid putting glass or small ornaments near the bottom, as they can pose dangers to pets and small children.
- Keep cords and wires out of walkways—Between Christmas trees, electric candles, and outdoor lights, Christmas decorations often involve plenty of wires and cables. All those cords can be a significant trip and fall hazard if they’re in or near walkways. Place your Christmas tree near an electrical outlet and keep wires tucked behind it. When placing lights outdoors, run extension cords and wires along your home and not on your sidewalk, walkway, driveway, or lawn.
- Ensure your ladder is sturdy and stable—Whether you’re putting the star on top of your Christmas tree, or you’re hanging wreaths and lights outside your home, there’s a good chance you’ll need to use a ladder. Ladder-related falls and injuries are one of the biggest threats homeowners face when doing domestic work, and that’s especially true during the holidays. Make sure your ladder is secure and stable, and always place it on a sturdy and level surface.
In addition to following the previous tips, be sure that you:
- Don’t skimp when buying Christmas lights—Whether you prefer colored lights or clear lights, the most important step of the buying process remains the same: don’t skimp. Christmas lights are an essential part of the decorating process, but they can pose serious dangers to homes and homeowners. Many lights are cheaply and quickly manufactured, and while they may look good at first, they quickly burn out or fail altogether. In addition, cheap lights may not have a UL Safety Certification, which means they’re more likely to cause a fire or electrical shock due to faulty wiring and components.
- Don’t burn candles in multiple rooms—Smell is strongly tied to emotion and memory, and the scent of Christmas candles can take your holiday decorating to another level. But candles are also a major source of house fires, especially around the holidays. Candle-related fires peak in December, as homeowners may burn multiple candles at once. When lighting candles, keep them all in the same room and away from the reach of pets and small children. Always put out candles before leaving a room to ensure you don’t forget about them.
- Don’t buy a dried-out Christmas tree—If you prefer a real Christmas tree over a synthetic one, make sure any that you purchase are freshly cut and contain plenty of moisture. Fresh trees will retain a healthy green color and their needles will remain hardy and strong for weeks. Dried-out trees will appear dull and brown, and their needles will easily fall off when touched. Dried trees are dangerous due to their extreme flammability, especially if they’re placed near heat sources such as fireplaces or space heaters.
Holiday-Related Injury? You May Be Eligible for Compensation.
The holidays are supposed to be a fun and relaxing time to spend with friends and family. But for some people, they’re a time they’d rather forget due to accidents and injuries. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, it’s our goal to help injured victims get compensation no matter when or where they get hurt.
If you or someone you love suffered a holiday-related injury that wasn’t your fault, whether it was while putting up decorations, while visiting someone else’s home, or at any other place or time, we want to help. We know what you’re going through, and it’s our job to help you get the money you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.