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Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

11/24/2014 03:58AM ● By Family Features
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It's no surprise that as the holiday season approaches, family and friends gather to celebrate. With more cooking, decorating and rituals that include candles and open flames, the risk of house fires and pediatric burn injuries increase drastically during the month of December.

These holiday traditions can all lead to a devastating house fire when there are young children in the home. The U.S. Fire Administration reports there are approximately 128,700 fires during this festive month that account for 415 deaths and 1,650 injuries.

Burn Awareness

According to Dr. David Herndon, M.D., with Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenĀ® in Galveston, there are three types of pediatric burns that are common during the holidays. They include scalds from steam or hot liquids, contact with heat or flames and electrical burns. Understanding these common injuries and how to avoid them can help your family to stay safe this season.

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Look out for loved ones and prepare for the holiday ahead with these simple fire safety tips from Shriners Hospitals for Children:

Holiday Decorations
  • Make sure your tree is at least three (3) feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents.
  • If you have a live tree in your home, keep it well watered and remove it after the holiday or when it becomes dry.
Holiday Lighting
  • Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots and excessive kinking or wear before use.
  • Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
Candle Care
  • Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended. When using lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and placed where they cannot be knocked down easily.
Holiday Cooking
  • Cooking is the primary cause of home fires and fire injuries, so keep an eye on what you fry.
  • Stand by your pan and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot reach them.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll up long sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover the pan if it catches on fire.

Be Prepared
To protect your loved ones, make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. The holiday season is a great time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and to check fire extinguishers.

Have an escape plan for your family and always cook with care. Most importantly, if you or your child experiences a burn, consult a physician immediately.

Expert Pediatric Burn Care

Since Shriners Hospitals for Children entered the burn care field, the survival rate for children with burns over more than 50 percent of their body surface has doubled. Today, patients with burns over 90 percent can survive, and go on to lead full, productive lives.

These hospitals provide critical, surgical and rehabilitative burn care to children, regardless of a family's ability to pay. Each state-of-the-art burn facility is staffed and equipped to provide reconstructive and restorative surgery for healed burns, as well as treatments for various other skin conditions.

Care Beyond Four Walls
The staff focuses on the medical and emotional needs of every child, as well as the needs and concerns of the family throughout the care process. A multidisciplinary team works closely with the patient and family to provide support during the child's recovery and transition back to school and family life.

With 22 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Shriners Hospitals for Children provides advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. Learn more at

The Gift of Prevention

The holiday season is a great time to spread safety awareness to all of your family and friends. Here are some gift ideas to present to loved ones, stuff stockings or to tuck under the tree:

Escape Ladder
The National Fire Protection Association recommends homeowners keep one escape ladder in each room located above the ground floor. Many models are built to stow easily under the bed or in the closet.

Smoke Detector
Some new smoke detectors offer advanced technologies, including a text message alert when a risk is detected or batteries are running low.

Flameless Candles
While a candle is always a classic gift, a flameless candle is a safer way to add ambiance to a room.

Fire Extinguisher
This safety equipment makes a great addition for the kitchen, garage or wood shop.

Fill those stockings with plenty of batteries to ensure smoke detectors are in working order for many months to come.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by Shriners Hospitals for Children

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