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Washington DC Real Estate Resource Center: Safe Holidays Make Happy Holidays in Washington, DC
It doesn't make a difference if your home is located in Bethesda, Maryland or Washington DC accidents can happen anywhere. Before you begin decorating your house please take a few minutes to review these Christmas safety tips. Below are suggestions to help make your holidays memorable and safe (Taken from AAP*)
Christmas Trees Located Within the Home
- An artificial tree should have the label "Fire Resistant"
- If purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green and needles are hard to pull from the branches. The needles should bend but not break when bent between fingers. The trunk should be sticky with resin. Tap the tree on the ground. The tree should not loose many needles.
- When you get the tree home, place the tree away from any fire places, radiators and portable heaters. Make sure the wherever you locate the tree within the house or apartment that it does not block doorways and high traffic areas.
- Cut a few inches of the tree trunk to expose fresh wood. This helps the tree get better water absorption. Good water absorption helps prevent the tree from drying out and becoming a possible fire hazard.
- Heated rooms can dry a tree quickly so keep the stand filled with water.
- Make sure the base is steady so the tree can not easily tip over.
Lights-Located Both Inside and Outside the House
- Never use electrical lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- Check all tree lights (even if newly purchased) before hanging lights on the tree. Make sure all bulbs work, there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections. This also applies to outdoor lights.
- Outdoor lights for your home should be certified "For Outdoor Use". Whether it's Chevy Chase MD or Chevy Chase-Washington DC you should make certain that there are no restrictions on Christmas tree lights on your home. Some apartments and homeowners association's have restrictions. Lights should be held in place with insulated staples or strung through hooks. Do not use nails or tacks. Do not pull or tug on lights to remove them.
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Do not overload extension cords (both indoors and outdoors).
- Do not mount lights in a way that can damage the cord's wire insulation.
- Make sure to turn off all indoor and outdoor lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights, if left on, could short out and start a fire.
Home Safety tips for Decorations
- When ever possible, only use decorations made with flame resistant, flame retardant or non-combustible materials. Only use tinsel or artificial icicles made of plastic or nonleaded materials.
- Lit candles should be kept away from decorations and other combustible materials within the home. Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
- If small children live in the house, avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of reach of children to avoid accidental swallowing or inhalation. Avoid trimmings that look like food or candy because this might temp small children to eat them.
- Remove all wrapping paper, bags, paper, ribbons, and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazard to small children or can cause a fire if near a flame.
Children and Pets
- Poinsettias are known to be poisonous to humans and animals. Keep Poinsettias located in your house well out of reach.
- Keep decorations at least 6 inches above a child's reach.
- Avoid using tinsel. It can fall on the floor. A curious child or pet may eat it.
- Keep any ribbons on gifts and tree ornaments shorter then 7 inches. A child could wrap a longer strand of ribbon around their neck and choke.
- Watch children and pets around space heaters and/or fireplaces. Do not leave a child or pet unattended.
- Inspect wrapped gifts for small decorations, such as candy canes, mistletoe berries and gingerbread men. All can be potential chocking hazards to small children.