Igniting the Christmas Tree and 8 Other Common Holiday Hazards to Avoid Slideshow
December 6, 2016
This season is a time for celebration — but it's also fraught with peril
The piles of miniature candies, gummies, nuts, and toys are fun to play with and eat, but they’re also a choking hazard. Three thousand people die annually in the United States from choking, and the holiday season adds an unusual number of distractions, increasing the risk. Though you don’t necessarily need to child-proof your holiday party, be especially aware of little bits of plastic or candy that might have been plucked off gingerbread houses, as babies and younger children love to put these things in their mouths.
Dangerous Snowball Fights
If little Timmy deserves it, by all means nail him with a snowball, but just be aware that snowball fights carry with them an element of danger. Rocks, chunks of ice, and other foreign objects tend to find their way into snowballs, and can cause serious injury if they land in someone’s face. Avoid this by aiming for the neck down and make sure children are dressed appropriately before the battle begins.
Busting out the ladder to put up the holiday decorations is a popular tradition in many households, but attempting to hang lights, wreaths, and garlands can be dangerous. When using a ladder, always have someone at the bottom to keep it steady, and do your best to avoid stepping out on the roof.
It’s an unspoken fact that a person’s holiday spirit is measured by the magnitude of his or her outdoor Christmas lights display, and these 10 small towns do Christmas lights the best. Unfortunately, the more extravagant the lighting, the greater the risk of an electrical overload. Using too much electricity can blow a circuit and shut down the power for the entire household, and, in some instances, an overworked circuit breaker may even start a fire. The best way to avoid this problem is to use low-wattage Christmas lights, mend any exposed wiring with electrical tape, distribute the Christmas lights between various electrical outlets, and plug the lights into a surge-protected power strip.
Menorahs, fireplaces, and even fragrant candles can start a house fire. Place candles away from curtains, paper, walls, or any other dangling fabric, and avoid throwing wrapping paper in an active fireplace. An open fireplace should never be left unattended and needs to be put out or turned off before you go to sleep.
Holiday Heart Attacks
The season of merriment and good cheer is also a likely time for heart attacks. With all the fatty finger foods, alcohol, and stress, it’s not hard to believe, but one study actually found a distinct spike in the number of heart attacks between Christmas and New Year’s Eve; evidence that the holiday heart attack phenomenon truly exists. The researchers concluded that the cold weather, along with holiday vices, was the reason for the jump in heart attack deaths.
Igniting the Christmas Tree
Is that burning bush a sign from God? Nope. Most likely it’s your Christmas tree catching fire. Every year there are around 400 home Christmas tree fires that lead to injury and even death. Some Christmas lights are specifically designated as “outdoor lights,” and shouldn’t be used on an indoor tree because their heat they throw might ignite the pine needles, which are flammable to begin with and row moreso as the tree dries ouot. To prevent this, always turn the lights off of the tree before going to bed and make sure to replace any string of light with broken cords or loose bulb connections. It’s also best to keep the Christmas tree a safe distance from the fireplace.
Want to avoid Christmas tree lights altogether? Try these 10 ways to decorate your Christmas tree with food.
Poisonous Holiday Plants
Yes, wreathes, mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias are essential festive decorations, but these plants don’t mix well with children or puppies. Some varieties of these plants, and their berries, have a high toxicity level that can cause illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in animals or children with weak immune systems.
Weather-Related Car Accidents
Where there’s snow there’s ice. The holidays are an important but dangerous time for travel. The winter season brings snow, sleet, and hail, which makes roadways slick. Black ice, the thin layer of frozen condensation that appears on roadways in the early morning, is especially hazardous. If you do start sliding on black ice; make sure to remain calm, turn the steering wheel in the direction you're sliding instead of away from it as your instincts will tell you, and do not slam on the brakes.