Christmas is often referred to as the happiest time of year.
It's the silly season, after all – a time for sparkling lights and soirées, endless lunches and long afternoon naps. But when things go wrong over the holidays, they tend to go… catastrophically wrong.
We hate to be the fun police, but the holiday season can be a hotbed of hazards – so we’re equipping you with a few preventative tips that’ll help safeguard your home and protect your family from potential accidents.
Choosing the right tree
There can be something magical about the process of picking out your Christmas tree – it is, after all, the epicentre of the holiday tradition. But whether it’s real or artificial, Christmas trees can come with their fair share of risks.
If you’re opting for an artificial tree, make sure it’s safe by checking that it is labelled ‘Fire Resistant’. And if you’re going with a real Christmas tree, choose the freshest possible pine tree. A fresh tree is far less fire hazardous than a dry tree – especially when you water it regularly. You’ll be able to spot a fresh tree by its vibrant green in colour, its hard-to-pull needles, and its easily bendable branches.
Get the green light
Nothing says festive season quite like a street full of with houses decked out in flashing bright lights. But before you go full neon rainbow on your home, make sure your decorative lights fit the safety standards. Whether you’re hanging your lights up outdoors or just around the tree inside, check that they have an ‘Australia Approval’ number on them before you purchase them. It’s also a good idea to ensure they’re not listed on the Government’s Safety Recall Website. If you are using your lights outside, double check that the label says they’re safe to use outside.
Check your decorations
If you’re itching for the day you get to hang up your Christmas stockings and dust off your grandmother’s ornaments, there are a few things to keep in mind. Before you unpack the boxes in your garage labelled ‘Xmas decorations’, make sure all your baubles, trinkets and tinsel are non-combustible and flame-resistant – especially if you plan to hang them up close to lights. Paper ornaments, for example, should be kept as far away from lights as possible.
Pick a safe spot
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to Christmas tree placement – where will it get the most visibility? Where will it not be in anyone’s way? Where will it not block any natural light? But the most important factor to consider is safety. To ensure your tree is hazard-free, keep it as far away as possible from lit candles, fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters of any kind.
Flick the switch
Christmas lights should always be switched off when you’re not home or turning in for the night. You’re probably already in the habit of turning your Christmas lights off before you go to bed, but to be sure you don’t forget, you could invest in a light timer to automatically turn your lights off at a reasonable hour every night.