'Tis the season to be jolly - and it's also the season of lights and electricity. Tree lights, exterior house and yard lights, and candle lights. It's a very busy time of year when people get caught up in the excitement and can use a few helpful safety reminders:
- Be sure that all electrical decorations are in good working order: no frayed wires or sparking plugs, or plugs that feel warm to the touch. This is important both inside and outside the house. If you're using older lights that have been in the family for years, be especially careful and consider replacing them with new lights that may also be more cost-effective and use less electricity.
- It may be tempting to add just one more string of lights before the big party, but first check to ensure that your electrical outlets are not maxed out or overloaded. This is important both before the holiday and once the gifts have been opened. Lots of electronic toys and gadgets will be plugged in and played with by children and grown-ups alike, so make sure that outlets are used sensibly and that younger children have assistance from adults. When the use of extension cords becomes tempting, be aware that they can also pose an overload hazard or cause dangerous trips and falls if not located safely.
- Candles are also a holiday favorite when it comes to decorating, especially as centerpieces or accents on a mantel or end table. While they look lovely, they can also be a fire hazard, especially in combination with rambunctious children and pets. Even if you're a holiday purist who prefers the warm glow of "real" candles, consider using the new cordless battery-powered candles instead. They are realistic and some even provide that "natural" candle scent that we recall so fondly.
Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.