Make sure outdoor lights are custom made for exterior use.

4 tips to stay off the injured list this Christmas

If you’re like many Americans who love Christmas, you’ve probably been in the holiday spirit for a while now. In fact, based on a recent survey, an estimated 43 percent of homeowners begin decorating for the festive season prior to Thanksgiving.

But now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s time to start decking the halls.

Holiday decorating is a great way to get the whole family involved in taking part in the joys of the season. After all, who doesn’t enjoy coming home from work to see their neighbors’ decks, banisters, and overhangs decked in a brilliant display of holiday decorations?

That being said, decorating is not without its share of accidents, typically in the form of trips and falls, due to a moment’s inattention or improper installation. With the proper preparation, however, you can ensure that the only things falling to the ground are pieces of tinsel from the Christmas tree. Keep these safety precautions in mind as you get your house ready:

Do a thorough light check

Before you string your tree or home with colorful lights, it’s a good idea to check them to ensure that all bulbs are in good working order. Many light sets will not turn on if a bulb is cracked or shorts out. See to it that you have spare bulbs so you can replace them as needed. Additionally, make sure you distinguish between outdoor lights and indoor lights, as they consume differing amounts of electricity that can cause a fuse to break if they’re used improperly.

Keep candles in the clear

Surely you’ve gone by homes with candles in the window. These plug-in candles are simple ways to spread holiday light, but they’re also easily knocked over, the bulbs of which can shatter. When placing them on your window sills, ensure that they’re sufficiently grounded by using a suction cup to attach to the window or double-sided window tape. Also, for scented candles, keep them away from anything flammable, as candle fires are a leading cause of home fires during the holidays, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Water your Christmas tree regularly

If you’ll be cutting down a balsam fir or blue spruce, regularly watering the Christmas tree is an essential element to keeping it looking fresh for the next several weeks. This will help cut down on those pesky needles falling to the ground, but it will also help reduce the risk of a fire. Christmas trees are highly flammable, and among home fires that happen during the holidays, trees catching fire are frequently the cause, based NFPA statistics. In addition to regular watering, turn the lights off before turning in for the night to err on the side of caution.

Secure rugs and carpeting

If you’ll be hosting a holiday gathering for friends, relatives, or coworkers, go throughout your house to see if there’s anything that might lead to an accident. For instance, if you have an area rug, check to see that you can’t slip on it. If it moves, reinforce it with some non-slip padding or double-sided carpet tape.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a great pamphlet available for download for more tips on how to make sure your Christmas decorating is a bell-ringing success.