Important safety steps to keep kids’ holidays bright, happy and burn-free

(BPT) – You bake their favorite treats, search stores for the toys they have begged for all year, stuff stockings and deck the halls to help ensure your children’s holidays are full of warm, happy memories. However, it is also important to ensure the holiday season is safe for kids and the whole family.

In December 2015, 415 people died and 1,650 were injured as a result of home fires, according to data from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). In fact, home fires increase dramatically between October and November, and do not taper off again until warmer temperatures arrive in spring, USFA statistics show.

A recent survey conducted by Shriners Hospitals for Children found that while most Americans are aware of the steps they should take to stay safe during the holidays, they are not putting that knowledge into action. For example, while 70 percent are aware that live Christmas trees should be watered daily, more than half of those surveyed said they do not, even though it is one of the most dangerous fire hazards in homes during this time of the year.

“Some of the survey findings are alarming, and each year our hospitals that provide burn care see the results — children who’ve been injured in cooking related accidents or in fires associated with decorations or candles,” says Kenneth Guidera, M.D., chief medical officer at Shriners Hospitals for Children. “These injuries can result in years of extensive rehabilitation and ongoing treatments to a child’s growing skin.”

As part of their Be Burn Aware holiday fire safety campaign, Shriners Hospitals for Children offers some tips for reducing burn and fire risks during the holidays:

Decoration safety

Holiday decorations build the excitement of the season for children, but they can also be a source of danger. Follow these guidelines for decoration safety:

* Place trees at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles and heat vents. Keep fresh-cut trees well-watered and promptly dispose of trees after the holidays or when they become dry.

* Inspect holiday lights before putting them up. Discard strands that have frayed wires, bare spots or excessive kinking. Replace broken or missing bulbs and always follow manufacturer warnings to limit the number of light strands plugged together. When using an extension cord or power strip, plug the light strands into the cord before plugging the cord into the electrical outlet.

* Extinguish candles when you have to leave them unattended. The Shriners Hospitals survey found 25 percent of people admit to leaving lit candles unattended and 27 percent leave them within reach of a child. Make sure lit candles are in stable holders out of the reach of children and pets and placed where they cannot be easily knocked over. Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles instead.

Cooking caution

Cooking is the leading cause of all home fires and fire injuries, according to the USFA. During the holidays, be mindful of safe cooking habits, including:

* Never leave pans unattended. Be sure to turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children can’t reach them. The Shriners Hospitals survey found 25 percent of adults fail to position pot handles for safety.

* Reduce the risk of clothing catching fire while you cook by wearing short sleeves or rolling up long sleeves.

* Keep safety items, like a working fire extinguisher, on hand in your kitchen. Have a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan and snuff out the flames if the contents catch fire.

Year-round precautions

You can take some steps to prepare for the holidays that will also help keep your home and family safer throughout the year.

* Make sure smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in place and in working order. The holidays are a great time to change the batteries in all smoke alarms and check fire extinguishers.

* Ensure that children know what natural gas smells like and instruct them to leave the house immediately if they detect the odor of a gas leak.

* Have a family escape plan and practice it.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Their 22 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Visit to learn more.

For more fire safety information, Be Burn Aware activity books for kids, tip cards and additional online tools for families, visit

Brandpoint – Free Online Content

You May Also Like These Topics...
four boy playing ball on green grass

Health & Vitality: the Way to Good Health

Start living a healthy life now: Here is your 7-day plan ==> Having sworn to yourself that you’ll go to the gym in the morning, how many times have you changed your mind after you woke up and did not feel like working out? We all have days when we lose our motivation to get […]

Science-based Suggestions for self-confidence

A recent study shows your perception of your own image has a profound effect on how you present yourself to the rest of the world. Those findings could be empowering since even small changes to your self-care routine can significantly boost your self-confidence. The study by researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business found […]

5 ways to feel good while getting fit

(BPT) – Setting intentions is a powerful thing. Then when you have that shiny new gym membership in hand, you feel like nothing stands between you and your goals to get in shape once and for all. Trouble is, lack of motivation, unpreparedness and busy schedules have a way of interfering with our plans. If […]

When buying hearing aids: 6 essential things to know

(BPT) – Being an informed health care consumer is hard work. There is information everywhere. But how do you sift through it and make sense of it all? And how do you know what is reliable and what isn’t? Sorting through the noise when buying hearing aids is no exception. In the past several months, […]

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post

A senior-friendly workout to improve movement and prevent injury

Next Post
Health & Fitness

Sick of being sick? 5 tips to getting better and kicking that cold to the curb

Leave a Reply