Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press release urging consumers to keep safety in mind as they decorate for the holidays. The release noted that, each year, during the 60 days surrounding the winter holiday season, about 11,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for decoration-related injuries such as falls, cuts, shocks and burns.
Among the safety tips provided by the CPSC included these related to Christmas trees:
- When purchasing an artificial tree, DO look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to burning.
- When purchasing a live tree, DO check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- When setting up a tree at home, DO place it away from fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.
- When trimming a tree, DO use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
- In homes with small children, DO take special care to avoid sharp or breakable decorations, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
- To avoid lung irritation, follow container directions carefully while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
Read the full CPSC release for additional safety tips related to holiday lights and candles, and fireplaces.