WINTER HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY TIPS
Holidays can be busy and joyous times but holiday decorations and new toys can bring risks along with festive cheer. Stay safe by knowing how to manage the health and safety hazards of holiday items you bring into your home. Minimize your risks by following safety tips below.
- When buying a real tree, make sure it is fresh (you tell if the needles are hard to pull off). Water the tree daily once you bring it indoors for decorating.
- Place the tree away from high traffic areas adn doorways. Make sure the tree is well-secured in a sturdy stand.
- Place the tree away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
- Keep metal, sharp or breakable tree ornaments with small removable parts away from young children.
- Dispose of the tree as soon as the holidays are over, or as soon as the needles start to fall. Dispose of it according to local regulations - most municipalities have tree recycling programs.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND DECORATONS
- Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency such as CSA, cUL or cETL. Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using lights to find out about the latest recalls.
- Choose the right light for the job. Light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor and outdoor use. Ensure that indoor lights and decorations are only used inside. Read the package instructions and do exceed the recommended wattage.
- Check all light bulbs beofre you put them up. Replace broken or burned-out bulbs with those recommended by the manufacturer.
- Check the light strings and extension cords you use, discarding any that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets.
- Never run electrical cords through or across doorways where they may be pinched or trip someone, or under carpets where they can be damaged or overheat.
- Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire.
- Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors.
- Turn off all holiday lights before you go to bed or leave your home.
- Keep 'bubble lights' away from children - they contain a hazardous chemical that may cause irritation or burns if the bulb breaks.
- Choose tinsel, artificial icicles and other trimmings made of plastic or non-leaded metals. Don't let children put decorations in thier mouths, as some may be harmful to their health.
TOYS AND GIFTS
- New toys and gifts are holiday hightlights for many children. Minimize potential hazards from new gifts by buying sturdy, well-made toys that are appropriate for your child's age. Toys for older children may contain small parts or other hazards that may make them unsafe for young children.
- Toys can be recalled for health or safety reasons. Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for more information about the latest recalls.
Toy safety Tips
- Read and follow the age labels, warnings, safety messages and other instructions that come with a toy. Check for contact information of the manufacturer or importer if you have any concerns.
- Dispose immediately all toy packaging like plastic bags, plastic wrap, foam, staples, ties and protective film. A child can suffocate or choke on these items.
- Ensure batteries are not accessible to children and are properly installed by an adult.
- Supervise children at play and teach them to use theri new toys safetly.
For more information, Health Canada has published Is Your Child Safe? Play Time. This guide provides information for parents and caregivers on how to create a safer play experience inside and outside the home. It also provides tips for making safer choices when selecting and using toys and other children's products.
HALLOWEEN FIRE SAFETY TIPS
- When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
- Provide children with flash lights to cary for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like bubls and heaters. Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily.
- Use a batter-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit and your pets too. When lighting candles inside a jack-o-lantern, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to plcae lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Practice STOP, DROP and ROLL - stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out!)
- If you child is going to a friend's house for a Halloween party or any party, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.