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Holiday Safety Begins At Home

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

There's no place like home for the holidays, but the holiday
season can also increase the potential hazards at home. Claudia
McCormick, director of the Trauma Program at Duke University
Medical Center, offers the following simple suggestions for
reducing common holiday hazards around the house.

  • Interior and exterior holiday lights should be on only
    when you're at home.
  • Keep your Christmas tree well-watered. A dry tree is a
    deadly fire hazard.
  • Make sure to extinguish all candles before leaving home
    or retiring for the evening.
  • Check that your fireplace screen fits properly, so that
    no stray sparks can land on the carpet or on wrapped presents
    waiting to be opened.
  • Several popular holiday plants can be dangerous when
    ingested by children or pets. These include: amaryllis,
    poinsettias and the berries of holly and mistletoe. In
    addition, the foliage of pine, fir and cedar trees can cause
    skin irritation in some children.
  • If you haven't changed the battery in your home's smoke
    detector lately, this is the time to do it.
  • Pets can be attracted to shiny decorations, including
    tinsel and ornaments. Make sure these items are not
    accessible, and place electrical cords well away from
    pets.
  • Gifts for children should always be age-appropriate, in
    order to avoid the risk of choking.
  • Think about giving a gift of safety this year. Fire
    extinguishers, smoke detectors and home or vehicle first-aid
    kits all make thoughtful (and potentially life-saving) gifts
    for loved ones.
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