How to keep kids safe around Christmas and Hanukkah decorations

Nicole Villalpando, Austin American-Statesman on

Published in Entertaining

It's the most, wonderful time of the year! It's also a dangerous time of the year. Sometimes kids and holiday decorations don't mix.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for families:

Christmas trees

— When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. The needles should be hard to pull off, and should not break when you bend them. When you tap the tree on the ground, only a few needles should fall off. Cut a few inches off the bottom of the trunk before putting it in the stand, and be sure to keep the stand filled with water.

— If you have an artificial tree, make sure it's labeled "Fire Resistant."

— When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.


— Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.


— Check all lights before hanging them on a tree or in your home, even if you have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.

— Be cautious about trimmings that may contain lead. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded materials. Light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to put lights in their mouths, and wash your hands after handling them.


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