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Safe Holidays

Watch that tree!

The holidays are an exciting time of year, especially for kids. Here are some tips to help ensure they — and you! — have a safe holiday season, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

O, Christmas tree …

  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
  • Check all tree lights — even if you've just purchased them — before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

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