Holiday Hazards

As you deck the halls, you may be putting your home, children, and pets at risk. Keep these thoughts in mind when decorating.

Family tree: Live Christmas trees can be deadly when dry. Pick evergreens with moist, pliable needles or forgo the real deal for a fire-retardant fake one. Don’t string too many lights end to end, and turn them off before heading out or to bed. Trim or remove branches at little ones’ eye level, forget hanging tinsel (choking hazards for pets and kids), and dangle breakable ornaments out of reach from those sniffing snouts and tiny fingers.

Plant life: While legends suggest consuming any part of poinsettias, holly, or mistletoe could kill you, more recent scientific studies insist these vibrant plants have gotten a bad rap. But while they may not be lethal, ingesting them could cause nausea and vomiting, so don’t take any chances. Display them where 4-legged friends and toddlers can’t nab a nibble.

Old flames: Unless you want the fire department joining your seasonal celebration, dispose of lights with broken bulbs or shorted-out wires, extinguish candles and menorahs at day’s end, and sweep out chimneys before lighting logs. Never burn pine boughs or paper — the embers can ignite your roof… or your neighbor’s.

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