Staying Safe at Christmas. Close up of Christmas tree with bauble in focus

Staying Safe at Christmas

Christmas is a time your home is likely to be filled with friends and family. In the excitement of it all, accidents can happen.

More than 80,000 people attend A&E with Christmas related injuries each year. With a little care and planning, most accidents can be avoided.

Tree

According to RoSPA about 1,000 people each year are injured by their tree; either by falling whilst decorating or the tree falling on top of them.
RoSPA Christmas Safety

When buying a real Christmas tree, select one that is fresh with no needle drop. Place it in a water-holding tree stand, keeping it topped up daily and the room cool. As a tree becomes dry it becomes highly combustible.

If using an artificial one, make sure that it is fire retardant.

Ensure your tree is the right size for the room, secured to prevent it toppling over, away from heating equipment or ignition sources and doesn’t block escape routes.

Fairy Lights

According to RoSPA around 350 people are injured by Christmas lights each year; from children swallowing bulbs to electrocution.

Before decorating the tree, cables and bulbs should be checked for damage. Top tip: plug into mains to ensure they are working before spending time placing them around the tree.

You should consider replacing older sets of lights and illuminated decorations for those with low voltage LED bulbs which conform to BS EN 60598.

Always use in accordance with manufacturers instructions.

Never decorate the tree with the fairy lights on.

Remember if you are decorating the garden only use lights specifically designed for outdoor use.

Keep lights clear of decorations and remember to switch off at the mains when unattended or on retiring at night.

Decorations

Remember when positioning decorations not to block intruder alarm sensors.

When hanging decorations use a step ladder safely and don’t overreach.

Beware of children and pets climbing the tree or trying to eat/play with the decorations.

Christmas plants

Mistletoe, holly, lilies, daffodils, Christmas Rose, Christmas Cherry and Poinsettia are all toxic; keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Candles

Take care with candles; never place them on the Christmas tree.

Always use an appropriate holder to avoid spillages of hot wax, even tea lights that come in their own metal container have been known to burn through baths and TV sets.

Stairs

Make sure that stairs are free from obstacles and well lit especially if you have guests.

Presents

Always purchase age appropriate gifts for children from a reputable retailer and which conform to The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011.

Remember to buy batteries for toys that need them to avoid being tempted to take out the ones from the smoke alarm.

Have a screwdriver ready and a pair of scissors to assist in opening packages. Open carefully to avoid cutting fingers.

Clear up as you go and keep an eye out for small items that could pose a choking hazard for children and pets.

Always read instructions.

Kitchen

Sharp knives, boiling water and hot fat make the kitchen a very dangerous place.

Try and keep others including pets out of the kitchen and wipe up any spills as soon as they happen.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and cook the dinner.

Avoid drinking alcohol until you have finished cooking.

Consider a fire blanket, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm.

Indigestion and food poisoning.

Studies by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) reveal that, on average, we gain 2kg (5lbs) in weight during the Christmas period.

Overeating not only leads to weight gain but can lead to a nasty case of indigestion and heartburn which can sometimes be confused with a heart attack (or even a heart attack being ignored because you think you have indigestion!)

To avoid food poisoning always read the instructions and cooking times.

Alcohol

Apart from the health risks, alcohol reduces your awareness and co-ordination. Alcohol relaxes you so you lose awareness about everyday risks.

Ensure all items such as glasses and tins are removed and thrown away to avoid little ones and pets drinking the remains if they get up during the night or early in the morning whilst everyone is still asleep.

Travelling

Plan any journeys you have in advance with frequent breaks to avoid driving tired.

Never drink and drive.

Stress

One of the most stressful times of the year, the combination of Christmas shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking, relatives and lack of sleep can lead to arguments and tears.

Don’t spread yourself too thinly and try and give yourself some alone time even if it is a walk in the park or a hot scented bath.

Unfortunately for some, Christmas is not full of excitement, they may be homeless or own their own with no one to share it with or have lost someone or be unwell.

If it all gets too much, find someone to talk to like the Samaritans.

You can call the Samaritans 24/7 365 days a year on:

Fireworks

Plan fireworks well in advance and follow the Firework Safety Code.