Simple ways you can avoid a holiday mishap

Posted at 7:19 AM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 07:50:17-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- From candles to Christmas trees, the holiday season has a lot of ingredients that can quickly turn a time of joy into tragedy. It’s the big reason you see a lot of warnings this time of year to avoid a holiday mishap.

Injury prevention specialist Jennifer Hoekstra at Spectrum Health says tragedies this time of year are avoidable.

Think about all of the times we pile our purses on the floor at a holiday party. many of those bags have prescription drugs or vitamins inside, some of which can be harmful to kids. Hoekstra says it’s important to keep guests’ bags out of sight of curious little eyes.

As for hanging a wreath or lights, Hoekstra tells us it’s important to use a sturdy ladder. “I encourage you to have a second person whose giving that ladder support so it doesn’t slip and fall,” she said. Under no circumstance climb on your roof to hang lights. Also, make sure you turn off all indoor lights when you leave the house or go to sleep, especially your lights on your tree.


If you use a live Christmas tree (not fake), it’s important you keep it hydrated. Water your tree regularly, and make sure to sweep or vacuum up all of the dry needles.

Dry Christmas trees are a serious fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded on average to more than 200 house fires due to Christmas trees from 2010 to 2014.

To avoid Christmas trees fires, make sure you go through all of your lights to find broken bulbs or frayed wires. If you find some, replace the set. “We don’t want to start taping and duct taping, because that’s not really a safe practice for lights,” Hoekstra said.

When it comes to covering your table, Hoekstra recommends avoiding draped table cloths, and keep candles and other decor out of kids' reach, because small objects, batteries -- even booze -- are temptations for little ones.

“We’ve seen children become drunk from leftover alcohol left on tables, or kids get sick from spoiled food leftover night,” Hoekstra said.

And then there are those super small batteries. “We have those coined-size button batteries: if they’re ever ingested by a child, they lodge right in the esophagus, and in two hours they can burn a hole in that esophagus.”

That’s why it’s so important to clean and stay organized during the holidays.