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Pediatricians Offer Tips to Avoid Holiday Hazards
Date:12/18/2011

SATURDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- From buying a Christmas tree to stringing up lights and wrapping gifts, there are a number of health and safety issues parents and guardians should consider during the holidays, according to child health experts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips to help keep children and the whole family safe:

Christmas trees

  • Make sure, if you select an artificial tree, that it is flame-resistant.
  • When selecting a live tree, find one that is fresh. Being green, having a sticky trunk and having needles that don't bend, fall off or break easily are signs that a tree is fresh and less likely to pose a fire hazard.
  • Trim a few inches off the bottom of the trunk to help it absorb more water and refill the tree stand with water regularly.
  • Trees should not be set up in high-traffic areas or near fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.

Holiday lights

  • When hanging tree lights, always make sure that each bulb works and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • To avoid electrocution, electric lights should never be used on a metallic tree.
  • When decorating with lights outside, check to make sure the lights have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Hooks and insulated staples should be used to hold lights in place -- not nails or tacks.
  • All lights should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Never leave lights on when you are not home because a short circuit could cause a fire.
  • When it's time to take lights down, don't pull or tug on them.

Decorations

  • Only flame-resistant materials should be hung on a tree.
  • Choose only plastic or nonleaded tinsel or artificial icicles.
  • Open flames, such as lighted candles, should not be placed near a tree or
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