Holiday Hazards Around The Home

This holiday season it is likely your home will be full of family, friends and even a few pets. Although everyone will be focused on having fun and celebrating the season, there are plenty of accidents that can happen around the home if you’re not careful. Each year the emergency room can be a popular place around Christmas time, but if you’re prepared, none of your guests will have to visit this unwanted destination. Here are some of the most common holiday hazards to be aware of this year.

Keep Walks And Driveways Clear

It’s no secret that Colorado gets plenty of ice and snow this time of year. If you’re hosting at your home, you’ll need to do double duty on your sidewalks and driveways while family and friends are visiting. It’s not enough to give the walks a quick shovel and call it good if Grandma is going to be walking up them this year. Even a small patch of ice can spell disaster for Grandma and other guests. Get to your walks early and shovel them completely before the snow gets packed down, and hit them with salt when appropriate so no one slips and falls. Your homeowners policy will cover medical bills incurred if a friend or family member falls, but take action now and don’t let the fall happen in the first place.

String Christmas Lights Carefully

Christmas lights are always a highlight of the holiday season, but improper use of Christmas lights is one of the most common holiday hazards to be aware of. If you’re using last year’s lights, make sure you fully inspect them for frays and damage before you string them up again. Whether you use old or new lights, don’t string too many strands together. Two to three light strings should be all you need to cover a certain area. If you need additional coverage, you can start fresh with a new strand somewhere else. A similar rule applies to extension cords. Don’t attach several together to get to a far away string of lights. Instead, plan your displays carefully so you only need one long extension cord for that area.

One other note on Christmas lights – they all generate some level of heat, especially older models, and you shouldn’t place them next to highly flammable materials. If you’re still using those old Christmas lights, consider upgrading to LED bulbs that generate less heat and use less electricity.

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While we’re discussing lights and power cords, another one of the biggest holiday hazards comes in tripping dangers. You may know where that extension cord powering the tree lights is located, but Grandma may not. Secure cords and lights against the wall or out of the way so no one trips on them, even you. If there is no safe way to keep the cord out of high traffic areas, then consider placing the lights elsewhere. Even a small trip can lead to serious injuries. Don’t take chances with your lights and extension cords.

Christmas Tree Safety

Lights aren’t the only decoration that can turn into a potential hazard. The innocent Christmas tree can cause plenty of damage too. First if you buy or harvest a fresh tree, make sure it is clean and dry before you bring it into your home. A damp live tree can actually breed mold, and you may be making your guests unintentionally sick if there is a moldy tree in your living room. Once you set up the dry tree in the corner of the room, make sure it is anchored properly and that it won’t fall over. Pets and children can really test a tree’s structural integrity, and they may be harmed if it falls over. Select a good stand and consider extra safety measures if it is still wobbly.

While we’re talking about the tree, make sure you don’t have sharp or breakable ornaments on the tree if children are around. Ornaments can fall off the tree, get crushed and become sharp objects on the ground. In some cases it may be better to hang safe plastic ornaments on the tree if youngsters are around. Finally, keep that tree a safe distance away from flammable sources like the fireplace or candles. The last thing you need in your living room is a Christmas tree bonfire.

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Slow Down And Take A Breath

Most people try to do too much around the holidays, and this is one of the easiest holiday hazards to prevent. Do yourself a favor and slow down or ask for help. Try not too cook too many dishes if you are cooking alone. Don’t build a roaring fire and walk away from it with ten other things to do. Don’t get so wrapped up in holiday activities that you stop watching your kids and pets. There is always a temptation to make things perfect around the holidays, but if you slow down and stay focused, everything will work out fine.

One other thing – if you’re frying a turkey for Christmas, be careful! Here are some Turkey Fryer Safety Tips.

Protect Yourself From Holiday Hazards

Preparing for these holiday hazards is just part of the process. You need a good homeowners policy if you’re hosting any holiday parties this season. If you’re not sure what level of homeowners coverage you have right now, Square State Insurance would be happy to review it to see if you’re getting the best deal on the coverage you need. Contact us today to examine your homeowners policy.

From everyone at Square State Insurance, have a happy and safe holiday season!

Image one and three courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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