Choosing the perfect Christmas tree is a fun tradition for many families, but it’s important to consider fire safety when decorating for the holidays, a pediatricians’ group advises.
People who opt for an artificial tree should make sure it’s fire-resistant. This should be noted on its label, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you’re buying a live Christmas tree for your home, the group recommends the following precautions:
- Pick a fresh tree. Many people look for trees that are a certain size or shape, but it’s also important to make sure it’s not dried out. Dry trees may become a fire hazard. A fresh tree is green and its needles don’t break or drop off its branches easily. The trunk of a fresh tree is also sticky.
- Trim the trunk. Cutting a few inches off the trunk of the tree exposes fresh wood. This enables the tree to absorb water more efficiently and avoid drying out.
- Water the tree. Be sure to keep the tree-stand filled with water. Trees in heated homes can dry out quickly.
- Carefully consider tree placement. Christmas trees should not be near fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Trees should not block doorways. Instead, they should be placed away from high-traffic areas.
The U.S. Fire Administration has more about Christmas tree safety.