Planning to make the season brighter with some show-stopping holiday decorations? You're not alone! But are you aware that decorating isn't always delightful? It can be dangerous, too.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year more than 12,500 people are sent to the emergency room due to injuries from accidents caused by holiday lights, trees and decorations.
To ensure safe trimming and decorations throughout the season, The Home Depot offers these lighting and electrical tips:
Indoor and Outdoor Lights
• Verify that all of your lights and extension cords are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and have been designed for their proposed use inside or outside of the home. Look for the UL trademark on the product or it's labeling.
• Inspect every string of lights for damage to the wire insulation or smashed light sockets. Smashed sockets or loose wires can cause shock or fire.
• Replace burned-out bulbs immediately. They can cause the other bulbs to overheat and shorten the lives of all the bulbs on the string. Make sure all of the bulbs are firmly fastened in their sockets.
• Check to see if the string has a fuse (it will be at the end nearest the plug). Replace the fuse if the entire string is out.
• Throw away damaged strings. The few dollars saved by keeping them aren’t worth the risk of a fire.
• Use one long extension cord rather than linking several shorter cords together, and avoid plugging too many holiday lights and other electrical decorations into a single outlet.
• Make sure not to overload your extension cord by exceeding the manufacturer’s amperage recommendation. Packaging for holiday lights usually lists watts rather than amps so it may be necessary to convert amps to watts to determine what is safe. To do this, multiply the amp rating on your cord by 120 (standard household voltage). This will give you the number of watts the cord can handle.
• Unplug lights when you’re not home and when you go to bed.
Stringing Outdoor Lights
• Make sure your ladder is long enough to reach your highest point and that you position it on level, secure ground. Always have at least one adult helper to hold the ladder for you.
• Use plastic light clips to hang the strings from your gutters and eaves. Or, use insulated staples to secure lights to the house or tree. Remember that sticking a nail through the electrical strings could damage the wire and cause an unsafe situation.
• Keep extension cords away from water, snow and ice. Use only extension cords designed for outdoor use. Consider putting the lights on a timer for energy efficiency.
• Plug electric decorations into a rubber, multiple outlet yard post to avoid overloading a circuit or causing a power outage.
• Remove outdoor lights soon after the holidays to prevent winter weather from causing extensive wear on the items.
• Use only noncombustible or flame-resistant materials. Blow out candles before leaving the room.
• Do not start fires in fireplaces decorated with stockings or other trimmings. Avoid burning tree trimmings and wrapping paper in the fireplace. They may release toxic fumes or cause flash fires.
• Don’t run extension cords under rugs or carpets.
Keep Kids Safe
• Be sure to use clear, thin wires to anchor trees to walls. This keeps children from pulling trees down on top of them. Use a wide-based stand to make sure the tree is secure and will not fall over. Position trees away from exits so that children do not accidentally run into them.
• Cut back the lower branches of trees to avoid eye injuries to small children.
• Keep toddlers away from electrical fixtures and install outlet covers on electrical sockets when they are not in use. Avoid small plastic outlet covers as they may pose a choking hazard.
• Keep burning candles out of children's reach. Keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked away. Do not leave candles unattended. Teach children not to touch burning candles.
• Decorate your tree with children in mind. Do not put breakable ornaments, ornaments with small, detachable parts, metal hooks, or those that look like food or candy on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
Protect Pets from Holiday Mishaps
• Keep decorations hidden and out of reach from pets. Animals are attracted to the scent of plastic insulation on wiring devices and may chew on them. Pets, particularly cats, can be tempted to eat tinsel, which can block the intestines. Hang tinsel high and securely to keep it out of reach of pets.
• Keep areas around the tree clear of fallen pine needles. When ingested by pets, pine needles can puncture holes in a pet's intestine.
• Hanging wires and gaudy decorations can look like chew toys to pets, so be sure to keep all hanging items out of reach.
• Certain holiday plants, such as holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies, are toxic to animals. Keep these plants out of the house to avoid accidental poisoning.
• Do not let pets drink the holiday tree water. Some may contain fertilizers, and stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria. Check labels for tree water preservatives and artificial snow, and buy only those that are nontoxic. Very important: do not put aspirin in the water (some folks do this thinking it will keep the tree or plant more vigorous). If a pet ingests the aspirin-laced water, his or her health or even life can be at risk.
Safety tea light -- $0.99
Flameless candle -- $19.97
Flameless musical candle -- $12.99
Outdoor timer/multi-plug steak -- $14.97
Universal clips -- $3.99
Holiday light tester -- $14.99
11ft. hanging kit -- $19.99
Over door wreath hanger -- $2.49
Interior 6 outlet multi plug with surge protector -- $8.99
Interior timer -- $10.97-$34.97
White and multi colored strands of holiday lights -- $2.99/each
Outdoor extension cord -- $6.97
Indoor extension cord pack -- $4.97
— For more information, visit: www.HomeDepot.com