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Christmas Safety Checklist

With the busyness of the holidays, there is little time to worry about holiday home emergencies. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 14,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year due to holiday decor-related injuries.Here’s a checklist that will keep your home safe for the season.

Trees: Make sure your real tree is fresh — the needles should be green and not break when bent. You also can test its freshness by tapping the tree on the ground; if the tree doesn’t lose many needles, it’s fresh. Make sure to stand your real tree away from any heat source (including fireplaces and air vents). Keep the stand filled with water when it’s inside, and trim low branches so they are out of reach of small children. If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it is flame-resistant.

Lights: Make sure all lights — inside or out — have been checked for safety by an independent laboratory. New and old sets of lights should be checked for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires or loose connections. Make sure you don’t plug in more than three sets of lights per extension cord and check the wires now and then to be sure they don’t get too hot. Turn all lights out when you go to bed, or when you leave your home.

Trimmings: If you have small children, beware of ornaments that are sharp or breakable. Don’t put any tree decorations on the lowest parts of the tree where a small child could reach them.

Candles: Keep candles away from all other decorations, and never use them on a tree or near other foliage.

Cooking: Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.