Safe Holiday Decorating Tips

November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving is in our rearview mirror and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are in our crosshairs and straight ahead so it’s time for a word of caution about holiday decorations! We gathered some of the most common hazards to avoid while you pull out your holiday treasures to hang, string and display!

Vintage Hazards

Wonder why some nostalgic and sentimental holiday decorations have been forever banished? Safety is everyone’s main concern, so we surveyed dangerous holiday decor  that you can avoid for safe holiday decorating this year!

Barely safer than hanging lit candles on your tree are the vintage bubble lights, still available on eBay. The bubble lights contain liquids with a low boiling point (like methylene chloride) that are heated by a bulb. While these ornaments are only dangerous when broken, the liquid is harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin.

Artificial aluminum trees seen here in a picture from the Johnson County Museum, aren’t all that dangerous on their own, but beware adding electric lights! If you’re a fan of these sparkly silver faux décor, use a rotating color wheel light or light projectors, like these from Home Depot. There’s a store in Aurora on S. Gun Club Rd., just five minutes from Southshore.

Electrical Power Problems

Overloading electrical outlets is a problem you can avoid by planning before decorating where everything will go. Make sure you use multiple outlets by evenly scattering the plug-in décor and avoid leaving your lights on overnight. This not only reduces the risk of a high energy bill, but also the risk of overheating your outlets when you’re asleep and less likely to notice.

Holiday lights cause an average of 150 fires every year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. As long as you take the proper precautions, you don’t have to be afraid of stringed lighting. Just make sure they have the UL Listing Mark, which means third-party engineers gave it the stamp of approval for risk of fire, electric shock, and other dangers. The label can also tell you if those holiday lights are safe to use outside. A green UL label means it can only be used indoors, but a red one is a sign that you can hang them outdoors, too.

The Spruce offers the pros and cons of using LED lights for the holidays – on the one hand they don’t heat up so they’re safer and they also won’t send your energy bill through the roof. But they are more expensive to buy so you’ll need to decide if they’re worth the investment!

The Danger of Smallish Décor

We’re well aware of the dangers of small ornaments and décor that might tempt a child to swallow the shiny contents. Smaller decorations like light-up holiday jewelry and battery-powered candles can contain lithium “button batteries.” If a child swallows one of those little round batteries, it could get stuck in his or her esophagus. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a chemical reaction with saliva results that could do serious damage to a child’s esophagus in as little as two hours. If the decoration uses screws to keep the battery compartment shut, a child won’t be able to get the batteries out. For decorations without screws, apply duct tape to the back keep the compartments closed.

Safe Pets, Happy Owners

PetMD recommends avoiding the following if you have cats or dogs and they have access to decorations adorning your home:

  • Imitation snow, also called flocking, that is used on trees, garland, wreaths and craft décor, though fun to chew, can be toxic to pets;
  • The water in the bowl of a live Christmas tree can tempt a thirsty pet and if the tree has been treated with chemical preservatives, those can poison the water so have plenty of water for your pet to drink;
  • Electrical cords can easily be a bored pet’s preoccupation and chewing them can result in electrical shock – make sure they’re not easily accessible by your wandering fur baby.

Safe and Sound in Southshore!

Southshore is a safe refuge for homeowners, whether families with small children or empty nesters with occasional flocks of visitors. The amenity-rich master-planned community of Southshore has something for every taste and lifestyle. Take a tour through the beautiful and varied models from Toll Brothers, Richmond American Homes or Century Communities in ranch and two-story designs. You’ll find the lakeside home of your dreams, priced between the upper $300s and the $700s.