November 30th 2022

Holiday Safety PRACTICES

The holiday season is approaching!!

This means plenty of food, decorations and hosting, and a need to be extra cautious around the house. Here are some tips to help you safely prepare your home for the Christmas season:

Keep your driveway and walkways clear: When it snows, clear your driveway and walkways of snow and ice. Your guests and delivery people will appreciate it.

Home security: Unfortunately, the holiday season sees an increase in break-ins and homeowner theft. It is important to always lock your doors, keep the garage closed, lock windows, and make a note of strangers in your neighbourhood. Consider getting jewellery insurance so if anything happens you can have it insured.

Fireplace: Whether you have a natural or gas fireplace, it is a source of heat and potential danger. Keep kids and pets away, be careful when placing decorations, and always make sure the fire is out before going to bed or leaving the house. Be sure to check if your fire insurance is up to date.

Christmas Tree safety: Make sure it's fresh (you can tell if the needles are hard to pull off). Water the tree daily once you bring it indoors for decorating.

• Place the tree away from high traffic areas and doorways. Make sure the tree is well-secured in a sturdy stand.

• Place the tree away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.

• Dispose of the tree as soon as the holidays are over, or as soon as the needles start to fall.

Children and Holiday tips:

• Keep decorations out of reach of small children and secured to the wall. Any object small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube can obstruct the airway of a child.

• Keep mistletoe, Holly berries and poinsettias out of reach of children as each is toxic when ingested.

• Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers. Avoid putting too many plugs into one electrical outlet. Keep cords out of the way or behind furniture, and insert electrical outlet covers into any unused outlets.

• Closely supervise your child if he or she is helping you decorate, especially when handling lighting, ornaments and breakable objects.

• Purchase lights with the UL Listed mark which certifies that the product has been tested to meet safety requirements.

• Make sure your children’s toys are age-appropriate and the batteries cannot be easily removed. Batteries shaped like disks, or button batteries, pose a choking risk to young children.

• Avoid placing gifts under the tree that contain glass, perfume or cologne, poisonous substances or sharp materials.

• Keep alcohol out of reach of children. Quickly clean up leftover drinks.

• Dress your child properly for the weather, making sure that their hands, feet and heads are covered.

• Supervise children and make sure they wear the correct safety gear for sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and other outdoor activities.

Pets and Christmas safety:

Our tiniest friends need our help and protection the most at Christmas…

• Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Just as we must watch our children around these plants, Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested.

• Skip the tinsel: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching "toy" that's easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It's best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

• Candles: Don't leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

• A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his/her own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle.

• Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

• Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kong’s that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but toys for cats that involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitate surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

• New Year’s Eve: Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Let’s all have a safe and happy Holiday season!!! From our house to yours…..

By Darla Henderson