Many residents of Maryland decorate their homes and outdoor spaces for the holiday season as a matter of tradition. However, Christmas trees, menorahs, and other adornments present hazards that you may not have considered. The National Institutes of Health reported on the link between burn injuries and holiday decorations in 2015, finding that “major” burn injuries are associated with seasonal décor. In some cases, these injuries were caused by negligence; in others, defective products created unacceptable hazards for the user. Some tips on how to avoid burns may help protect your family.
Protect Against Christmas Tree Fires
Government agencies and consumer protection groups keep a close watch on lighting for real and faux Christmas trees, as well as other areas of the home where people tend to string garlands. Their efforts are mostly effective, as fires linked to Christmas lighting tend to be relatively rare. However, when they do occur, they tend to cause considerable damage. Some tips to remember include:
- Choose a live tree that has fresh, green needles;
- Keep your live tree well-hydrated;
- Never light a real or fake tree with lit candles;
- Make sure all non-lighting decorations are flame-resistant; and,
- Only use decorations certified as safe by the Underwriters Laboratories.
Interestingly, these fires are more common in January when the holidays are over. This phenomenon is likely due to the fact that real Christmas trees are quite dry by then.
Avoid Hazards of Candles and Fireplaces
Candles are commonplace in Maryland households over the holidays, whether you are lighting the menorah or using them for ambiance throughout your home. Practice safe candle and fireplace use by:
- Never leaving candles unattended;
- Keeping ribbons, garland, wrapping paper, gifts, and other items away from lit candles;
- Decorating with flame-retardant decorations;
- Considering battery-operated candles; and,
- Putting a screen around the fireplace hearth.
In addition, it may seem tempting to dispose of wrapping paper in the fire after opening gifts. Avoid tossing these materials into an indoor fireplace. The dyes and other materials can cause sparks and embers to fly, which could extend the fire into your home.
Electrical Safety Around the Holidays
Every year, make sure to check your holiday lights for cracks, frayed wires, loose connections, and damaged sockets. If you need to replace bulbs, only use lights with the same wattage. Plus, you should take precautions when using multiple strings of lights. As a general rule, you should limit three lights or devices per extension cord. Any exterior decorations should be rated for outdoor use.
Set up a Consultation with a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries due to negligence or defective products, you do have rights under Maryland law. You can seek compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and related losses. The key to recovering monetary damages is working with an experienced personal injury lawyer who will protect your interests. For more information on burn injuries, please contact attorney William Mulroney. Schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss your circumstances and explain your legal remedies.