Children are extremely curious, and their curiosity only intensifies during the holidays when homes sparkle with beautiful decorations. If you have children in your home or plan to have grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other children in your home during the holiday season, make their safety a priority.

Follow these quick tips from Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  •  Read manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels for any decoration that will be used around young children, like electronic trains or animatronic dolls. Note if it is appropriate for their age group and determine whether adult supervision is required.
  •  Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach.
  •  Never leave children unsupervised when candles are lit.
  •  Instead of traditional candles, try using battery-operated candles so you can avoid the hazards associated with open flames.
  •  Strings of lights and garland are staples of holiday decorating, but they can also pose a strangulation hazard.  They should never be used as play things.
  •  In homes with small children, try to avoid using decorations that are sharp or breakable. Otherwise, remember to place glass and breakable ornaments out of the reach of small children.
  •  Avoid putting Christmas tree lights, ornaments, metal hooks and other small, mouth-sized decorations near the ground or on lower limbs where they may be easily reached by young children.
  •  Holly berries, wax fruits, and other decorating items also present choking hazards. Remember to keep this in mind when arranging your decorations.
  •  Cover any unused outlets on extension cords with plastic caps or electrical tape to prevent children from coming in contact with the live circuit.
  •  Place electrical cords out of the reach of small children.
  •  Never allow children to play with lights, electrical decorations or cords.

We all love decorations during this time of year. Just remember to be extremely careful so you don’t become one of the following statistics. An estimated 1,170 home fires per year begin with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. Christmas, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day are the top three days of the year for candle fires.

MARSHA O. PARKER is the Christian County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 270-886-6328.

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