Electrical Safety During the Holidays: Tips From Little Sunshine’s Playhouse

It’s officially the holidays and that means families will be celebrating. From hosting events at your home to making holiday travel plans, this is the busiest time of year for many people. Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, safety is still a real concern, particularly when it comes to holiday decorations.

Despite the cheer surrounding the season, the holidays are the peak time for electrical-related accidents. Using lights and other electrical components to illuminate your home can pose increased safety risks if precautions are not taken. This holiday season, follow these electrical safety tips from us here at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool.

Use Extension Cords Responsibly

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, improper use of extension cords cause more than 3,000 fires per year. These electrical accidents are responsible for 50 deaths and nearly 300 injuries annually. Extensions cords are particularly dangerous if used irresponsibly, as they easily overheat. Some go-to tips for using extension cords responsibly are as follows:

Never plug one extension cord into another, as the wattage of each cord is reduced, thereby increasing the risk of melting and fire.

When decorating outside, never use an extension cord intended for indoor use only and make sure outdoor-rated cords are not near places where water can collect. Keep extension cords above ground whenever possible.
Always inspect extension cords from the previous year; do not attempt to use frayed cords or those with loose sockets.

Never cover cords with carpeting or other fabrics as the cord can easily overheat and spark a fire.
Do not alter the extension cord in any way; if the cord does not fit into an outlet, purchase the right cord for your needs.

Inspect Decorations and Cords for Damage

Safe use of extension cords is just one part of ensuring safety when decorating for the holidays. It is common to use decorations from year to year, but many people reuse decorations without first checking them for safety. When inspecting decorations and cords, look for loose connections, exposed wires, or cracked sockets; do not use lights or other décor with these issues. For decorations that are still in good shape, always make sure that cords are not compressed by furniture, concealed under rugs, or used near heat sources. Never install indoor or outdoor decorations by stapling or nailing cords to structures.

When the holidays are over, remember to take down decorations, both outdoors and indoors. Outdoor decorations, in particular, were not designed to be exposed to the elements year-round, as the drastic temperature fluctuations can cause electrical components to deteriorate faster than normal.

Decorate Responsibly

Although Christmas trees are a holiday staple, they are responsible for annual property damage losses in excess of $13 million. In terms of safety, Christmas trees are another potential source of danger in the home, so you must follow safety precautions whether you have an artificial or a live tree.

Fresh-cut trees should be watered regularly to avoid dryness that could pose a fire hazard. Additionally, live trees should never be placed near heat-producing sources like space heaters, fireplaces, or forced-air vents.

When shopping for a fresh-cut tree, always choose one with green needles and avoid those with any dry or brown spots. If the needles easily fall off the tree when shaken, move on, as this is a sign of dryness that could pose a fire hazard.

Remember to never place holiday candles near the tree, and always unplug the lights before going to bed for the evening. After the fresh tree begins to dry out and needles begin to fall regularly, it is time to get rid of it.

In terms of holiday candles, always follow candle safety guidelines. When burning candles, always remain in the same room to avoid fires that can quickly get out of control. Also, be sure to keep holiday décor a safe distance from lit candles and keep candles out of reach of children and pets.

Stay Safe This Season

The holiday season is a joyous time for many of us, so putting safety first should take priority. It is always a good idea to be proactive about holiday décor safety by carefully inspecting decorations from previous years, following guidelines on the safe use of electrical items, and keeping live and artificial trees away from heat sources. Always remember to safely use extension cords and avoid overloading electrical outlets, and don’t run a lot of electrical appliances and decorations simultaneously. By following the safety tips given here, you will ensure that your friends and family have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Happy holidays from your Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool family!