Holiday Safety Tips from the Mississippi State Department
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
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
- 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
- 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