With Christmas fast approaching, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is offering advice on how you can stay safe and accident free in your home this festive season.
Christmas is a time when your home can be full of activity – and it’s in the excitement of the season that accidents can easily happen. Council’s Environmental Health department’s Home Safety Team have some helpful hints and tips to help you have a jolly safe time this December.
- Keep decorations and cards away from fires and other heat sources such as light fittings and don’t leave burning candles unattended.
- Christmas tree lights should not be left on for prolonged periods of time or overnight. Even LED lights can overheat, and with a combination of a dry Christmas tree, could cause a fire. Make it a habit to turn off your Christmas lights every time you leave the house or go to bed at night.
- Beware of trailing cables and wires in the rush to connect new gadgets and appliances – and always read the instructions!
- Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid accidents that come from rushing – and wipe up any spills quickly!
- Falls are the most common accident at Christmas time, so try to keep clutter to a minimum and make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles.
- Choose only quality toys from reputable shops or suppliers – a cheap toy isn’t a bargain if someone gets hurt!
- Take care when buying toys online, check the seller history and buyer reviews as some imports may be counterfeit and do not conform to safety standards. Ensure the toy has a CE mark before you buy it, this means that it meets the required safety standard. Also look out for the ‘Lion Mark’ which indicates that the toy is made to the highest quality standard.
- Check safety warnings and age restrictions. Make sure the toy is suitable for the child’s age and be wary of young children playing with older children’s toys.
- Be careful with novelty items and decorations, which look like toys, these will not have been tested to ensure they meet the safety standards. Place them high up and out of reach of young hands.
- Look out for small items that could pose a choking hazard to young children, such as button batteries (small disc-shaped batteries) used in electronic games, some watches, even hearing aids. If not caught early, they can do serious damage to the gastrointestinal system causing potentially-fatal or life-changing injuries. Never leave them lying around and make sure that children know not to put them in their mouths, ears or up their noses.
- Keep your eyes peeled for strangulation hazards – loose ribbons on toys or costumes can pose risks.
- Remove and dispose of any plastic packaging once the gift is opened and recycle where possible.
Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s Home Safety Scheme is here to assist with any home safety concerns, not just at Christmas time. If you are aged over 65, have children under 5, or have a disability/special need, our Home Safety Team can provide information and advice on avoidance of accidents, highlighting potential hazards in and around the home. Safety equipment, may be available to those eligible.