home safe

Plan ahead to avoid accidents.

The Holidays are a special time for friends and family to gather. However, they are also an excellent time for accidents in the home. Taking family members to the ER has become something of a tradition in my home.

Take precautions and keep the opportunities for accidents to a minimum. Be vigilant and anticipate trouble – a chair is not a ladder and flameless candles are very attractive. Here are more tips ~

The Kitchen and the Dining Table

  • Use a timer when cooking, fires can start from burning foods.
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
  • Keep oven mitts, towels and aprons away from heat sources.
  • Consider making a 3 ft. kid and pet free zone to prevent accidental burns.
  • Keep sharp knives out of reach of young cooks.
  • If you have young children visiting, consider using placemats in lieu of tablecloths that might get yanked, breaking china or tipping over lit candles.
  • Provide a highchair for young visitors, and make sure that it is properly secure.
  • Ask guests ahead of time about serious food allergies and create a menu that avoids them.

The Tree and Plants

  • Keep the tree away from the fireplace and candles.

Fresh trees

  • Check for brown needles, a dry tree can be a fire hazard.
  • Check for spiders and other pests before bringing the tree indoors.
  • Secure the tree to prevent it from tipping over.

Artificial trees

  • Make sure the tree is fire resistant and lead-free. This article shows you what to look for.
  • If an artificial tree comes with lights installed, look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval to indicate that the proper wiring was used.

Holiday Plants

  • Red Holly berries can be poisonous and tempting to young children. Keep them out of reach.
  • Some Mistletoe berries can cause stomach upset and nausea – keep it hanging up high inspiring kisses, and pick up any fallen berries.


  • Keep glass balls and other breakable ornaments on higher branches, away from a child’s reach.
  • Before using, check lights for frayed cord and damaged sockets.
  • Indoor lights stay indoors.
  • Use a step ladder, not a chair, to get to the high spots.
  • One and Done extension cords – don’t plug two extension cords together.
  • Keep the tree skirt close to the tree to avoid tripping opportunities or skip it altogether.
  • Make sure that furniture is well spaced out to reduce tripping accidents.

Wrapping Paper and Packages

  • Pick up clutter – wrapping paper can hide tripping hazards.
  • Packaging ‘popcorn’ and plastic can be choking hazards.
  • Don’t put wrapping paper in the fireplace, sudden fire flashes can be dangerous.
  • Small toys and lithium batteries can be choking hazards, make sure they are out of small children’s reach.
  • Use the right tool for the job when opening presents, and putting together new gifts.

Other Rooms

  • Small rugs can cause tripping, best to avoid altogether, but if you must, use grip tape.
  • Add slip-resistant treads or decals to the tub and shower floors for overnight guests.
  • Provide plenty of lighting. Night lights are helpful. This dawn to dusk night light has two charging ports.
  • Check to make sure you have anti-scald fixtures on the faucet, water should be no hotter than 120°.
  • Keep doors closed to keep children out.
  • Ask visiting adults to make sure that medications are out of reach of exploring children – locked in a suitcase or on a top shelf.
  • Add handrails in halls or grab bars in the bathroom to help older visitors.
  • Small children may wander at night. If you have stairs, add a gate at the top or arrange furniture to block access.

Be Prepared

  • Check that smoke alarms are working and fire extinguishers are fresh.
  • Stock a complete first aid kit and make it easily accessible.
  • Provide a few flashlights with fresh batteries available.
  • Keep front walks and entries clear of tripping hazards and ice.
  • Make sure that your house numbers can be seen easily from the street in case the Fire Department needs to find you (as if the billowing smoke isn’t enough).
  • If you have visiting children staying with you, get a referral for a trusted local pediatrician in advance before it is midnight and someone has a fever.

Making your home safe for visitors isn’t difficult. It just takes a little planning ahead and paying attention to the possible trouble spots.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Susie Landsem

Aging in Place by Design

You are going to be a safe host, here is an ASE article on being a well prepared, gracious host.