Consumer Tips: How To Have a Happy – And Safe – Holiday!

Cartwright - December 19, 2013 - Blog, Consumer Tips

We here at The Cartwight Law Firm want you to have a Happy and Safe Holiday, so here are some timely Consumer Tips to help assure that is the ideal outcome for you and your family!

Fire Prevention: Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and related injuries — always have an extinguisher close by. An extra-busy kitchen means an increased risk of burns and knife injuries, so keep additional people away to avoid confusion and accidents, and have a good first-aid kit on hand. Burning candles look nice and festive, but they can also be dangerous — never leave candles or lanterns unattended, especially if there are children in the house. And make sure all your smoke detectors are in working order. And consider these issues regarding pets in the house during the holidays:

  • Keep lights and extension cords safely secured or covered to deter chewing, which can lead to electric shock or even electrocution. Better yet, invest in pet-proof extension cords, or spray with products such as Bitter Apple or Chew Stop.
  • Candles can be fragrant and enticing to pets. But they can be a fire hazard if knocked over by an exuberant pet, and the fumes can be harmful to birds.
  • Liquid potpourri and sachets, popular during the holidays, can be very dangerous. Exposure can cause skin or oral damage to your pet and may cause illness or death.

Holiday house plants: Although they add a warm touch, many plants can harm your pets. Keep these potentially dangerous bloomers well out of reach.

  • Lilies can be deadly to cats, and many types can cause cats to have kidney failure.
  • Poinsettias, although not as toxic as people often think, can upset your pet’s digestive system.
  • Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic, can cause stomach upset and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems.
  • Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and lethargy.
  • Certain types of ivy, such as English ivy, can also cause severe harm.
  • Amaryllis can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Hibiscus can cause diarrhea.

Burglar Awareness: According to the FBI, nearly 400,000 burglaries take place in the U.S. during the holiday season annually. Make sure your windows and doors are locked, even if leaving your home for a brief period. Avoid having large displays of gifts that can be seen through windows or doors. Make your house appear “lived in” when you are not at home: keep a radio or television on, have someone collect your mail, use an automatic timer for your lights, stop newspaper delivery, have someone shovel snow in your driveway, and if possible, keep a vehicle in the driveway.

Tree Tips: Fresh trees stay green longer, and they are less a fire hazard. To select a fresh one, remember that needles should be hard to pull from branches and should bend, not break. Inspect the base of the trunk to make sure it is sticky with resin and then bounce it off the ground. If there’s a lot of falling needles, it’s too dry. At home, keep the tree away from fireplaces and other heat sources, and for a large tree, consider using wire to further secure it to a wall or ceiling. Position it away from foot traffic and doorways. Use a sturdy, wide tree stand that always contains water, cut off about two inches from the trunk to increase water absorption and slow drying.

And remember, your pets can have tree-related issues, as well:

  • Anchor trees securely. Climbing cats and dogs with wagging tails can knock over your tree.
  • Hang breakable, glass ornaments well out of reach. The small glass and metal fastenings can be stepped on or even swallowed by your pet.
  • Keep tinsel, ribbons and garland out of pets’ reach, especially cats that are intrigued by them. These can become lodged in their intestines, cause obstructions and lead to surgery or death.
  • Clean up pine needles frequently. They can be toxic when eaten by your pet.
  • Prevent your pet from drinking water in the tree stand if you have added preservative chemicals. These can be poisonous to pets. Also, stagnant water can contain bacteria, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

Check For Faulty Lights: Inspect every set of lights — indoor or outdoor, new or old –for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires and faulty connections. A single extension cord should be used for no more than three standard-size light sets. Consider using a timer extension to be sure all lights have been shut off at night.

Exterior Decor: Wintertime can present slippery conditions, whether it’s a walkway or a rooftop, or even a ladder. When decorating the outside of your house, make sure your ladder is on solid ground and secured, and have someone on-hand as a “spotter.”

Drink Responsibly: Alcohol-related accidents and deaths are particularly high during the holiday season. If you’re hosting, remember that you are responsible, so keep a close eye on your guests, their consumption, offer plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives and do not let anyone drive impaired — consider having all your guests drop their car keys in a hat for safekeeping, and don’t give them back to anyone who appears impaired. Be certain your guests have chosen a designated driver in advance, and do the same if you are attending a get-together.

And finally — have a happy, safe Holiday Season, from all of us here at The Cartwright Law Firm!


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