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Holiday Safety Tips from the Mississippi State Department of Health
From: News Release   Filed 12/18/07  GCN

‘Tis the season to be jolly – and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) wants everyone to enjoy the season. But make sure your home is safe for the holidays by practicing safety before, during and after the celebration.

Each year, emergency rooms nationwide treat approximately 8,000 people for holiday-related injuries. The causes of these injuries range from falls and fires to cuts and shocks from decorating lights and trees.  Following the guidelines below will help make your holiday season merry and bright …. and safe!

Take proper precautions with trees.

  • Make sure that artificial trees are marked “Fire Resistant.” This doesn’t mean the tree cannot catch fire, but it does mean that the tree is less likely to present a fire danger under ordinary use.
  • Live trees should be fresh, with pliable needles that don’t detach easily. Avoid trees with dry branches and needles that shed easily; these are very flammable.
  • Set up any tree away from fireplaces, radiators, space-heaters and candles to minimize your risk of accidental fire.
  • Keep live trees in a tree stand constantly supplied with fresh water.

Ornaments and lights can be hazardous.

  • Avoid glass and other fragile ornaments if you have small children or pets. These can fall and shatter, creating a danger if they are stepped on or swallowed.
  • If you have small children, do not use ornaments shaped like food.
  • Check decorative lights for loose or frayed wires, broken sockets or cracked bulbs. If you have any doubts at all regarding the safety of your lights, replace them.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, or near heaters. Be sure extension cords aren’t pinched behind or under furniture.

MSDH – Holiday Safety

  • Turn lights off when you leave home. Never use electric lights on a metal Christmas tree.
  • Put candles securely in non-tip candle holders and keep them away from Christmas trees, decorations, curtains and other combustibles.
  • Always extinguish candles or other flames when you are away or before you go to sleep. Do not leave burning candles within the reach of small children.

Practice safe heating habits.

  • Space heaters – Keep all fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn – newspapers, furniture and walls.
  • Fireplaces – Have your chimney inspected once a year. Keep fireplace fires small and use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Do not leave children alone in a room with a fireplace fire. Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace; burning paper can float up your chimney and onto your roof or into your yard.

Select gifts for children carefully.

  • Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. Young children can choke on toys with small parts.
  • Children will consider any unattended item a toy to be explored. Don’t leave hazardous objects or sharp items where children can reach them.
  • At parties or gatherings, even hot foods can be a danger to children. Keep any heated dishes or stove pots away from table edges or any place where children can disturb them or knock them off.

For more information on holiday safety, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/safety.

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