Holiday Family Safety: How to Prevent Home Fires During Christmas

Published on November 29, 2018

In our mad-dash to dress our home for the holidays, it’s easy to forget about safety hazards that come with Christmas trees and strings of lights.

In fact, December sees the highest number of house fires. Not something to “ho-ho-ho” about. A fire safety pro, let’s debunk a few myths that could get the fire trucks stirring — and you don’t want that much excitement.

You don’t want it to get to this point.

The Truth about the Tree  

Let’s face it, bringing a 4 ft. to 8 ft. tree into your home being held by a small stand with four screws is asking for trouble- especially if you have little ones crawling around.  Toddlers will naturally be attracted by this new item in your home and equally fascinated by the lights. To prevent the tree from falling, wrap green gardening twine around the mid-section of the tree.  You can also opt for extension gates you can use. Once you have placed the lights on the tree, be sure to tape the extra cord length directly to the wall to prevent your toddler from pulling on or biting it, and potentially causing a fire.

Ornaments are Alluring

While you may have many special heirloom ornaments, you may want to put them aside… especially if they’re glass.  Along with the potential risk of broken glass cutting your child, a curious toddler will try to put one in their mouth.  Make sure smaller ornaments are placed towards the top of the tree and consider decorating the bottom with ribbons or larger cloth-covered ornaments. (They’re actually easy to DIY!)

Lay off the Lights

Never attach more than three strands of lights together. Get some extension cords and read the directions carefully for the best way to light your tree. Some stores even carry cords designed to go up the trunk of your tree to individually light each strand. Also, make sure you keep them high enough so your pets (or toddlers) don’t pull them down! Electrical fires are no way to start your holiday season.

Don’t Forget the Fireplace

Nothing is cozier than a roaring fire, but make sure children are aware of the dangers.  If you have a fireplace in your home, securely fasten the gate or screen in front to protect your area rugs, carpets and furniture from loose embers, and to keep your children safe from burns. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby at all time.

Careful Cooking

Whether your kids are helping you bake a gingerbread house or if you’re roasting a huge ham, establish safety rules.  Make sure they understand to stay away from hot appliances and electrical outlets.

Consider the Candles

It’s easy to forget and leave a candle burning when you go to bed. There’s also the chance of a taper candle falling over and igniting a table cloth or drape.  Consider opting for scented electric candles that will look just as beautiful and be much safer to use.


Alison is a contributor at Grit Daily and the preeminent voice on safety, wellness and healthy living. Her first son passed from SIDS, and ever since, Alison has made it her personal and professional mission to instill in families the importance of living safely. For more information on fire safety, visit Safer Alarms. 

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