Commit a Minute to Holiday Safety ($100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway)

By Kristie Turck •  Published 12/06/10 •  4 min read

Last updated on January 10th, 2011 at 02:59 pm

With all the Holiday excitement, it’s easy to forget simple safety measures that could keep you and your family safe.  Fraying wires, dry trees, candles and dead-battery smoke alarms can all pose risks when you’re too busy wrapping gifts.  The Underwriters Laboratory,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.  Here are some tips for having a safer holiday this year – there are several items on the list I need to pay attention to… time to check the batteries on my smoke alarms!

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.

It’s also important to know that lots of holiday lights can contain lead and PVC.  It’s best to not let kids handle them and use gloves while decorating your tree, and use gloves definitely if you are pregnant.  There are some great tips and info on safer holiday lights on The Soft Landing Blog.

To learn more about the Commit A Minute challenge at!

Win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

To enter, leave a comment here telling me what YOU will do to Commit A Minute for Holiday safety!  You can enter a comment once a day until January 3rd 2011. (You may also tweet this contest once a day – but you must post a comment below each day, with a link to your tweet for it to count)

For Extra Entries:(You must leave a comment for each extra entry for them to count):

One US winner will be selected at random using  Entries will be accepted until January 3, 2011 at midnight EST.  Good Luck! :D

Congratulations Kelly, commenter #89!  Thank you all who entered. Hope your holidays were safe!