It’s the Holiday Season – Stay Safe By Following These Decorating Safety Tips


Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.

When decorating follow these tips:

    • Keep potentially poisonous plants – mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis – away from children
    • If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant”
    • If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry
    • Place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways
    • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them
    • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights
    • Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections
    • Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket
    • Never nail, tack, or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow
    • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house

Can you spot the difference?

Watch Out for Fire-Starters

Use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations in many homes during the holidays, means more risk for fire.

Keep these safety tips in mind when using candles and fire places:

    • Candle Safety: Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over and out of reach of children.
    • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach for children in a locked cabinet.
    • Use flameless, rather than lighted, candles near flammable objects.
    • Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace.
    • Always use a screen on the fireplace when a fire is burning.
    • Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are asleep.
    • Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

Fireplace and candle safety graphic

For more resources and safety tips, visit Ready California.