Millions of Tennesseans will have a Christmas tree in their home this December. In fact, I’m sure many folks already have theirs decorated and displayed beautifully in their living rooms. Christmas trees are a wonderful reminder of family traditions and a symbol of togetherness. But as a Memphis personal injury attorney, I know they can also pose dangerous hazards to you and your family.
Here are 4 Christmas-tree related hazards to be aware of to help keep you and your family safe this season.
4 Common Christmas Tree Hazards to Avoid
1. Decorating Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are common when decorating a Christmas tree. Many people try to place the star or angel on top of a very tall tree without the help of a ladder. Sometimes, they might even get a bit careless after a few too many eggnogs.
Here are a few decorating safety tips:
- Keep Christmas light cords and extension cords out of walkways and doorways to avoid trip and falls.
- When decorating a tall tree, use a ladder or step stool instead of a chair. Chairs are not designed to be stood on and can easily topple over.
- To avoid overreaching or losing your footing, move your ladder as you move around the tree. It can also be helpful to have another person hand you ornaments or lights.
- When handling glass ornaments, be extra careful. If one breaks, clean up any broken shards immediately.
2. Both Real and Artificial Trees are a Fire Hazard
Each year between 2015 and 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees. These fires resulted in two deaths, 12 injuries, and $10 million in direct property damage annually. One of the cornerstones of Christmas tree safety is taking the appropriate precautions to ensure your tree doesn’t catch fire.
Here are some easy fire prevention tips:
- Always turn off Christmas lights when going to bed or leaving your home.
- Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from other heat sources. Including space heaters, radiators, fireplaces, candles, lamps, and heat vents.
- If you choose to have a real tree, make sure it’s fresh (needles should be green and shouldn’t easily shed).
- Check the water level of your tree daily to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
- When buying an artificial tree, check the packaging to make sure it’s flame-retardant.
3. Christmas Lights Can Cause Electrocution
A Christmas tree just isn’t quite right without a beautiful string of twinkle lights. But, when used improperly, even small string lights can cause electrocution. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 20% of holiday decoration injuries treated in emergency rooms are associated with Christmas tree lights.
To avoid electric shock, follow these tips:
- Ensure that the lights you choose are made for indoor use.
- Check your Christmas lights for punctured or frayed cables as well as broken bulbs. If you find any defects at all, don’t use them.
- Instead of overloading outlets, use an extension cord.
- If you have a real Christmas tree, keep any wires away from the tree’s water source.
- Be careful not to pinch cords behind furniture, which can cause them to fray and short.
4. Children and Pets Are More Susceptible to Christmas Tree Injuries
Christmas trees present a unique set of hazards for small children and animals.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Never leave pets or small children unattended around your Christmas tree.
- Make sure your tree is secure in its base and watch kids and pets carefully. Even the slightest push by a child can cause an unsecured tree to tip over.
- Put any breakable or fragile ornaments on higher branches, out of reach.
- Keep extension cords out of sight to avoid pets chewing on them, and children getting tangled in them.
- Don’t let your pets drink Christmas tree water. Fertilizers and bacteria can upset their stomach.
- For more pet-related holiday safety tips, check out the ASPCA website.
If you suffer an accident this season, speak with a personal injury Memphis attorney for free.
I hope these Christmas tree safety tips help you and your family enjoy an injury-free holiday. That being said, accidents happen. If you are injured in an accident this season, contact us online or call (901) 327-2100 for a free consultation. Our team of lawyers are experienced, passionate and would be honored to help you and your family.
The last thing you should be worrying about during the holidays is recovering compensation for an injury. That’s our job. If you need our help, we’re just a call away.