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Your Healthy Family: Seasonal safety: avoid holiday decorating pitfalls

Posted at 11:13 AM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 13:13:53-05

CLEVELAND, OHIO — When it comes to getting into the holiday spirit, nothing compares to the fun of hanging up holiday decorations.

But, according to Tom Waters, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, before dragging out the lights and ladders, be sure to check the forecast.

“Once it gets cold and icy, and rainy, and windy, that’s not a time to be out putting up your decorations,” he said. “Both because of the risk for electrocution, as well as also being up on a ladder, when it’s raining or icy, or even cold, can be very dangerous.”

Dr. Waters said it’s typically best to try and avoid ladders all together.

If possible, keep your decorations closer to the ground, or consider hiring a professional, who has the right tools and the expertise to do the work.

Holiday hazards can happen indoors as well.

For those who like to decorate with real evergreens, make sure they don’t get too dry, as this can pose a fire hazard.

Too much clutter can also be hazardous – so keep decorations far away from heat sources.

If decorations have cords that look frayed, or damaged, he advises getting rid of them, as they can pose a fire or electrocution risk.

It’s also important to avoid overloading electrical sockets, or using the wrong cord for the job.

“You just want to be careful – you want to use the right extension cord; you don’t want to overload your outlets,” said Dr. Waters. “You also want to be careful where you’re running those extension cords, so people don’t trip, or you don’t run a snow-thrower over it.”