Christmas is a time to celebrate, relax and spend quality time with loved ones, but it is also the most common time of year for injuries to occur. There are some unique hazards that come about at Christmas time, and we are often so busy with our festivities we can be distracted when it comes to keeping ourselves safe. Lights and decorations are a common cause of injuries around this time of the year. By taking the time to be aware of your environment and potential hazards, you can make sure you don’t injure yourself or your loved ones this Christmas. Here are some tips on how you can stay safe while getting into the festive spirit:
If you are purchasing Christmas lights, ask the following questions:
- Are these lights low voltage?
- Are these lights Australian compliant? If you are purchasing lights online from overseas, they may be a different voltage, may not have a safety switch and may not comply with Australian Safety Standards.
- Are these lights outdoor approved? If you are putting up lights outside, it is important to check they are outdoor approved. Outdoor lights have additional weatherproofing to ensure they are safe, which indoor-only lights don’t have. The higher the weatherproof rating, the safer the lights will be.
If you already have Christmas lights, make sure you check them before putting them up. Most of us will only use our lights once a year, so it’s important to remember they won’t last forever! Even good quality lights will eventually need to be replaced. If you see any signs of rusting, fraying, or flickering, it is time to replace your lights.
When you’re putting up decorations:
- Remember ladder safety. Always make sure someone else is home when you are using a ladder, always maintain three points of contact and never have more than one person on the ladder at once. Ask someone else to put your decorations up if you don’t feel confident.
- Keep lights and other electric decorations away from pools and wet areas.
- Ensure hallways, paths and walkways are kept clear and clutter free. Christmas light cables, decorations, presents and anything else which could clutter up floor space and become a trip hazard should be kept off the floor and out of the way. This is especially important if there will be more people present in the space than usual.
Once your decorations are up:
- Test your smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be tested throughout the whole year, but especially during the warmer months and if you are using Christmas lights or other electric decorations.
- Turn of all electricity powered decorations if you are going out or going to bed. Lights should never be left on unattended or overnight or used during bad weather.
Following these simple tips will help keep you safe – so you can enjoy your festivities without the fear of injury from an RCD (Rouge Christmas Decoration!).