Hazards of holiday decor

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: December 24th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The chances are slim there will ever be a T-V show called “When boughs of holly and silver bells attack.” But the decorations you adorn your house with this holiday season could be hazardous to your health if you’re not careful.

Officials from the Consumer Product Safety Commission say twelve-thousand people wind up in emergency rooms each year with injuries linked to holiday decor.

The holidays wouldn’t be the same without a kiss under the mistletoe or a poinsettia on the porch. But both plants are toxic and can harm children and pets who don’t realize they’re not as tasty as they look.

And falling off a ladder while affixing lights to the roof isn’t just a gag from holiday movies, it actually happens and people get hurt. About one hundred sixty-four thousand people are rushed to emergency rooms each year because of ladder tumbles, according to the U.S. Product Safety Commission.

Inside, lights can also be deadly to pets that might chew them and get electrocuted. Tinsel is tempting too, but the shiny strings can get stuck in their intestines.

Even simple decoration can spark trouble. A lit menorah or other candles can become torches when left untended.

But the biggest decorative danger is the Christmas tree. A dry tree is like kindling for fire. Each year, Christmas trees cause three-hundred fires in the United States.

Experts say the best way to stay safe is to take precautions. Keep pets and children away from potential dangers, and remember to tend to candles and trees. So keep your boughs of holly. Just don’t let anyone eat them.