It is natural to get caught up in this busy time of the year, but we ask that you take a moment to look around and check that your family and home are safe during the holidays. Here are some tips to help ensure that everyone stays safe.

  • Keep small toys, gifts, and breakables out of reach of infants and toddlers. Children like to place small objects into their mouth which may cause choking and could be fatal. The same also applies to rubber balloons. Balloons may break and the small pieces are enticing for kids to chew on. These pieces are similar in texture to your skin and may also cause a child to choke.
  • Be aware that Christmas tree electrical cords may pose a tripping hazard if left on the floor. Keep these and any other electrical cords secure so that a child does not have the opportunity to pull on them.
  • Do not leave purses with medications in areas where they can be reached by children. Whether at home or just visiting friends, this is a common way for children to get access to medications.
  • Don’t leave small children alone in the home – even for a moment.
  • Teach children to stay away from candles, fireplaces, trees and space heaters.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Keep electric toys away from natural or artificial trees and paper decorations.
  • When buying presents for children, check for flame retardancy labels.
  • You may have visitors who have food allergies, especially nut allergies. You need to inform all guests with allergies to ask what is in the food before they enjoy it.
  • When decorating for the holidays, be aware that tinsel is a common cause of choking for infants, toddlers, and animals. Dogs and cats are especially fond of this holiday decoration.
  • Keep infants, toddlers, and animals away from Poinsettias. Even though it is not poisonous, eating poinsettia leaves may cause vomiting.
  • Holly and mistletoe are considered poisonous and should also be kept away from children. If ingested, contact Poison Control.
  • Don’t let children hollow out snow banks and play in them. The snow can collapse, trap, and suffocate a child. The same applies to playing on snow banks by the roadside, children could fall in the path of traffic or snow plows.
  • Keep all stairs in your home clear of toys and gifts.
  • While cooking, try to use the rear burners, this will help to prevent clothing catching on the pots that could cause a spill or burn. Never leave cooking unattended on the stove, children are naturally curious and may injure or burn themselves.
  • Always keep the draw strings for blinds and drapes high and out of reach of children. Children can have their necks become entangled and risk suffocation.

Natural trees

  • Buy the freshest, greenest Christmas tree you can find.
  • Trees that are too dry have brittle branches that shed needles easily.
  • Test twigs and needles for flexibility. A dry tree will break, not bend.
  • Store the tree outdoors, preferably in shade, until you’re ready to use it.
  • Cut one or two inches diagonally from the base of the tree.
    Mount the tree securely in a large reservoir type stand that includes a water receptacle at the base to keep bottom of tree submerged in water.
  • Add water each day, always keeping the water level of the reservoir above the cut.
  • Keep the tree away from candles, fireplaces, heating vents, radiators, television sets, or other sources of heat.
  • Make sure your tree doesn’t block fire exits.
  • Keep a multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Use decorations that are flame-resistant or non-combustible.
  • Turn light strings off before you go to bed and when you leave the house.
  • Discard the tree when it begins to turn brown or dry out.

Artificial trees

  • Artificial trees must have a fire-retardant label.
  • Metal or aluminum trees are conductors of electricity. Don’t decorate them with strings of lights or with any electrical product.

Indoor lights

  • Examine light strings for wear or damage each year before re-using them. Replace worn sets.
  • Before replacing burnt out lights, unplug the light string.
  • Unplug all decorative lighting before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Only use light strings, bulb reflectors, electrically lit decorations and extension cords that bear a CSA label and are marked for indoor use.

Outdoor lights

  • Only use CSA labelled light strings and cords that are marked for outdoor use.
  • Turn off electricity to the outlet before working with outdoor wiring.
  • Use insulated tape, not nails or tacks to hold strings of lights in place.
  • Don’t tape cords over, under, or along metal eavestroughs.
  • Run all outdoor cords above ground, keeping them out of puddles and snow.
  • To prevent moisture from entering bulb sockets, turn the bulbs to face the ground.

Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed, or when you leave your home.

  • Always stand candles in stable, non-tip candle holders before you light them.
  • Keep candles away from combustible decorations and displays.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended or within reach of pets or small children.
  • Extinguish candles by wetting their wicks before you leave a room or before going to sleep.
  • Use flame-retardant or non-combustible decorations and costumes.
  • Set up a designated smoking area outside with large, deep ashtrays, and soak the butts with water before dumping them in the trash.
  • Ask smokers to take it outside to reduce the risk of indoor fires and protect people from being exposed to harmful second-hand smoke.
  • Smokers need watchers. Before going to sleep, check under and around sofa cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
  • Please remember “Don’t Drink and Drive”, have a designated driver.
  • Always have a first aid kit in your home. Be sure it is stocked and everyone knows where it is.