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Commit a Minute to Holiday Safety

Frantic shopping! Wrapping gifts! Hanging lights! Cooking! Planning parties!  As a mom, you know life can get extremely busy while preparing for the holidays. However, the focus on celebrating can turn fun festivities into injuries and accidents if safety is not a priority. Studies show that nearly 230 people will visit the emergency room each day in November and December to be treated for holiday-related injuries.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading independent safety organization, is calling all parents, specifically moms, to set aside time in their schedule to commit at least one minute to safety each day this holiday season.

Top 10 Tips for Safer Holidays

  1. Water your tree: Dry trees pose a substantial fire risk. After bringing your tree home, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk before putting it in a sturdy stand. Be sure to water it daily. Additionally, know your trees expiration date. After about four weeks, the tree will stop absorbing water, dry out and should be discarded.
  2. Check your lights, check them twice: Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations for damage or wear. Cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections may pose a fire or shock hazard.
  3. Plan your fire escape: Use the holidays as a good time to practice a fire escape plan with your loved ones. Identify at least two exits from every room in the house.
  4. Sleep safe, install smoke alarms: UL recommends using both types of smoke alarms in your home. Be sure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on each floor of your home, and always close to sleeping areas.
  5. Be flame aware: Always blow out unattended candles and teach your children to stay away from lit candles or fireplaces.
  6. Give wrapping paper a second life: Don’t burn used wrapping paper as it may cause intense flash fires. And throwing it out adds waste. Consider recycling or repurposing it instead.
  7. Know your lights and cords: Do not connect more than three miniature light strings together.  Also, be sure to check the rating on your extension cords and do not plug in more than the recommended wattage.
  8. Steer your tree clear: Your tree should be positioned at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. It should also not block any doorways or exits.
  9. Decorate with a safe eye: Cords should not be run under carpets and lights should not be tacked-up with metal nails or staples. Small decorations can be choking hazards so keep them out of the reach of toddlers.
  10. Look for UL: Only use light strings and other electrical decorations that bear the UL Mark near the plug, signifying that safety standards have been met.

For additional ideas and activities on how to “Commit a Minute” this holiday season, visit


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About the Author

Amanda Acuña an influential Mom Blogger created MommyMandy as an online resource to the parenting community. She has four children and they currently reside in Texas.


  1. To be safe we never leave the Christmas tree lights on if we aren’t home or after we go to bed. We also are very careful about what we hang from the fireplace mantel.

  2. We stay safe by using an artificial tree and not decorating the tree with lights. A friend of mine has a husband who is a fireman, and he has told us many stories about fires started by real trees. Apparently, they are extremely flammable.

  3. We are going to have the holidays at home and use energy saving lights and make sure our lights are out each night before bed

  4. We just took two steps toward additional safety this week: locking the interior door when the garage door is open for more than a minute or two, and keeping our (energy-efficient) outside bulbs on at night.

  5. I changed the batteries on my smoke alarm. I am going to water the tree often after we put one up.

  6. We do a lot of traveling around the holidays so we make sure the car is packed with an emergency car kit and the car is tuned!
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  7. To be safe this holiday season we are checking all the smoke alarms and the fire extinguisher to make sure all are in working order.

  8. We have all our lights on timers so they turn off just before we go to bed. I also stopped using candles and I use aroma sticks or warmers that use light bulbs to scent my house now.

    shel704 at aol dot com

  9. When it starts to get dark outside we turn our outside lights on, which include the front & back porch lights and our big spotlight that is on the garage that shine out over our cars and driveway this way any one that is out there would be visible from any window and we keep our doors locked at all times, Inside we’ve recently installed new smoke detectors throughout our house including the basement. We have quite a few empty homes on our street that makes the occupied houses stand out more and these days you just never know what is going on with strangers in the neighborhood, so we try to watch out for the few neighbors that are left on our street too.

  10. We now use flameless candles and make sure that the batteries in our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are fresh.

  11. Make sure they’re seat belted when we go to Grandmas, and turning off the tree lights when we’re not home or asleep.

  12. We just replaced and tested all our fire alarms & we just got three new Fire Extinguishers to keep in our kitchen, garage & downstairs by the door where we grill outside.
    Thanks so much for this great giveaway.

  13. We’re checking our Christmas lights, watching for hanging cords etc. I love the tips above, many of them are very helpful. Thanks!

  14. We make sure to keep our tree watered and never leave the lights on on the tree when we’re not awake or home. We also recently checked our smoke detectors and made sure the kiddos know how to get out if there is a fire.

  15. We just got a fancy new home alarm system. If we all figure out how to use it – we’ll be safe and sound at home.

  16. I am putting up the lights when The Man is not at home, otherwise I’m gonna kill him.

    Kidding, I’m going with electric candles rather than real ones.

  17. Well, I only burn candles in my sink because I have a terrible fear of something catching fire.We only use new heaters and always turn them off when we leave and we don’t leave our Christmas trees on when no one is at home.

  18. I like the new LED lights and I use those for the decorations now. I can’t believe we used to use those big hot lights

  19. We have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We also have an artificial tree, and never leave the lights on when we go out or go to bed.

  20. I always TURN OFF the lights when we are not there to monitor them–inside, outside, on the tree, etc.

  21. changed batteries to smoke alarm- went and had fire extingusher checked- unplugged unneded things and secured windows for the winter

  22. To keep my family safe, we only use LED candles instead of regular ones to avoid fire and burns to the children
    diamond42377 AT gmail DOT com

  23. We check out tree and water it daily. We also check all lights for any damage prior to using them and make sure they are turned off when we are not home or are sleeping.

  24. cleaning the dryer vents and making sure the leaves are taken care of thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

  25. I like your #8 suggestion: Steer your tree clear of dangers, like heaters. This is important. A tree near a hot heater all night can become a big hazard! We’ll be doing this suggestion for sure (and the others)!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. We will be watering our tree daily when we get it and we will be replacing all of our holiday lights.

  27. Making sure all windows and doors to outside locked, so burgler can’t come in and steal Christmas presents.

  28. I’m carefully checking all the lights and checking the batteries in all the smoke detectors.

  29. I’m moving to electric candle heating devices for my jar candles. They still release the scent, but without the flame!

  30. We have set alarm reminders on our cell phones so that twice a week we check the lights and the tree.

  31. I follow you on Twitter under the name JCHARRIES and tweeted at !/JCHARRIES/status/6148360608153601

  32. We are very careful with our fireplace, and we never leave candles unattended. Thank you!

  33. I always make sure my electronics have the UL approval on them. In addition, I make extra sure not to overload any of the plugs which is a common issue with lost of people

  34. All of our smoke alarms are in good working order and we turn the tree off when unattended. Thank you!

  35. Actually, we keep a well-stocked medkit around the house for all those little emergencies, so we’re gonna restock and replace a lot of that 😀

  36. checking all the lights before we put them on the tree. Since I use them year after year it is important to inspect them each year. semtaylor(at)yahoo(dot)com

  37. We had an alarm installed on the house. Added timers to all the lamps and replaced old door lock hardware on both the front and back doors.

  38. i am limiting the number of lights plugged into one another on the tree and i won’t leave it lit while we sleep
    nannypanpan at

  39. I pledge to never, ever leave things on unattended. I will not leave the christmas tree lights or outside light plugged in when I leave the house, if only to run to the store or even when we sleep. That is just asking for something to happen.

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