Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

Information based on a publication of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Houses, businesses, even outside public areas are all decorated for Christmas this time of year. Though decorations are festive and boost the holiday spirit, as always there are safety precautions and potential hazards to consider while decorating.

 Here are some tips to safe decorating!


– Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.

– Always use non-flammable holders.

– Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.

– Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.


– Use only non-combustible or flame resistant materials.

– Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass “angel hair” to avoid irritation to eyes and skin.

– Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaden materials are hazardous if ingested by children.

– Avoid decorations that re sharp or breakable.

– Keep trimming with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.

– Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food. A child could eat them.


– Before lighting a fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that flue is open.

– Keep a screen in front of the fireplace the whole time the fire is burning.

– Use care with “fire salts” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires; they contain heavy metals which can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation or vomiting if eaten. Keep away from children.


-When making paper decorations, look for materials labeled non-combustible or flame resistant.

– Never place trimming near open flames or electrical connections.

– Remove all wrapping papers from tree and fireplace areas immediately after presents are opened.

– Do not burn papers in the fireplace. A Flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.


– Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying this protection.

-A fresh tree will say green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree.

 To check a tree for freshness:

–         a fresh tree is green

–         fresh needles are difficult to pull from branches

–         when bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break

–         if needles fall off the tree easily, the tree is too dry

-Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.

– Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.

– Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. Use thin guy-wires to secure a large tree to walls or ceiling.


Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.


– Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.

– Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

– Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.

– Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

– Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.

– Never use electric lights on a metal tree.

– Keep “bubbling” lights away from children. The candle-shaped glass can break and the liquid inside is a hazardous chemical that would be harmful if ingested.


General Rules for Holiday Safety

  1. Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children.
  2. Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.
  3. Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home.
  4. Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes- particularly long, open sleeves- near open flames.
  5. Never burn candles near evergreens.

 Have a happy ( and safe!) holiday!

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 The Seltzer Group with locations in Schuylkill Haven, Orwigsburg, and Pottsville, Pennsylvania, serves businesses and individuals locally, regionally, and on the national level.  The Seltzer Group is a proud member of the Keystone Insurers Group.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips was last modified: August 26th, 2014 by Sarah McGorry