Comprehensive Children's Injury Center
Injury Prevention Tips | Holiday Safety

Tips for Keeping Children Safe During the Holidays

The Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center (CCIC) provides the following holiday safety tips to help parents become better informed on injury prevention tips.


  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a "Fire Resistant" label.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness
    • Make sure the needles are soft and don't fall off
    • Live trees need water, and lots of it! Check your tree's water level daily.
    • Dry trees can burn in seconds!
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators, portable heaters, and exits.
  • Remove live trees from your home as soon as possible. Many tree fires occur on or after New Year's Day.


  • Check each set of lights for damaged sockets or wires.
    • Make sure all bulbs work and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections.
    • Throw away any bad strands.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations concerning the maximum number of light sets that can be connected together.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Use only light sets and extension cords marked "for outdoor use" outside your home.


  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
  • Never use lighted candles on or near a tree or other evergreens.
  • Keep children and pets in mind when placing decorations on a tree.
  • Remove all wrapping paper, bags, paper, ribbons, and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose as suffocation and chocking hazards to a small child or cause a fire if near a flame.
  • Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations , including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry, and holly berry away from children.


  • "Think Big" when choosing toys for small children
    • Small parts could be a choking hazard.
    • Make sure gifts are appropriate for the child's age.
  • "Think Easy" when choosing a gift for someone who may have arthritis or some other physical challenge.
  • Consider giving the gift of safety!
    • Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers make great gifts!

Fireplaces and Heaters

  • Before starting a fire in a fireplace, remove all decorations (including stockings) and be sure the flu is open.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. They can burn extremely fast and throw off sparks.
  • If a glass-fronted gas fireplace is used, keep children and others well away from it with a screen or gate. The glass doors can get hot enough to cause serious burns, and they stay hot long after the fire is out. Always place a screen in front of a wood-burning fireplace as well.
  • When plugging in electric heaters, make sure the outlet was designed to handle the load.
  • When using kerosene heaters, make sure you use the correct fuel.
    • Using the wrong fuel can cause a fire or even an explosion.

Be Prepared!

  • Check the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector monthly!
    • Change the batteries as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
  • Develop a fire escape plan and practice the plan with your family!