Bellingham Athletic Club

Making Your Home Safe for The Holidays

The Holidays are always a special time for friends and family getting together. However, they are also an excellent time for accidents in the home to happen. Taking family members to the ER has become something of a family tradition.

Take precautions and keep the opportunities for accidents to a minimum. Important things to remember are; be vigilant, a chair is not a ladder, and flameless candles are very attractive. Here are more tips ~

The Kitchen

  • Use a timer when cooking, fires can start from burning foods
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended
  • Keep oven mitts, towels and aprons away from heat sources
  • Consider making a 3 ft. kid and pet free zone to prevent accidental burns
  • If you’ve got young children visiting, consider placemats in place of tablecloths that might get yanked, breaking china or worse, tipping over lit candles
  • Provide a highchair for young visitors, and make sure that it is properly secure


The Tree

Fresh trees

  • Check for brown needles, a dry tree can be a fire hazards
  • Check for spiders and other pests before bringing the tree indoors
  • Secure the tree to prevent it tipping over


Artificial trees

  • Make sure it is fire resistant and lead free.
  • Keep away from the fireplace and candles
  • If an artificial tree comes with lights installed, look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval to indicate that the proper wiring was used.



  • Keep glass ball and other breakable ornaments on higher branches, away from a child’s reach
  • Before using, check lights for frayed cord and damaged sockets
  • Indoor lights stay indoors
  • Use a step ladder, not a chair, to get to the high spots
  • One and Done extension cords – don’t plug two extension cords together
  • Keep the tree skirt close to the tree to avoid tripping opportunities or skip it all together
  • Make sure that furniture is well spaced out to reduce tripping accidents


Wrapping Paper and Packages

  • Pick up clutter, wrapping paper can hide tripping hazards
  • Packaging popcorn and plastic can be choking hazards
  • Don’t put wrapping paper in the fireplace, sudden fire flashes can be dangerous
  • Small toys and lithium batteries can be choking hazards, make sure they are out of small children’s reach
  • Use the right tool for the job when opening presents, and putting together new gifts


Other Rooms

  • Small rugs can cause tripping, best to avoid all together, but if you must, use grip tape
  • Add slip resistant treads or decals to the tub and shower floors for overnight guests
  • Provide plenty of lighting. Night lights are helpful.
  • Check to make sure you have anti-scald fixtures on faucet, 120° is the hottest the water should be
  • Keep doors closed to keep children out
  • Add handrails in halls or grab bars in the bathroom to help older visitors


Be Prepared

  • Check that smoke alarms are working and fire extinguishers are fresh
  • A complete first aid kit is easily accessed
  • Keep a few flashlights with fresh batteries available
  • Keep front walks and entries clear of tripping hazards or ice
  • Make sure that your house numbers can be seen easily from the street in case the Fire     Department needs to find you (as if the billowing smoke isn’t enough)


Making your home safe for visitors isn’t difficult. It just takes a little planning ahead, and paying attention to the possible trouble spots.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design