As you adorn your residence with cheerful décor this holiday season take heed of these three tips to help keep you and your family safe.

Avoid tripping hazards with electrical cords.

There’s no doubt that decorative lights capture the essence of the holidays. Whether you string them inside your home, outline the exterior of your residence, or wrap the trees and bushes of your landscape you should always be careful about where you place the cords to avoid a tripping hazard. Also, be careful not to overload your outlets with too many devices, which could cause an electrical fire.

When it comes to outdoor cords that run at ground level make sure you elevate the plugs and connectors—perhaps using something as simple as a brick or a feature in your landscape—to keep them from sitting in moisture, which can infiltrate the connections and disrupt the operation of your devices and decorations.

Keep children and pets from potentially dangerous decor.

Certain types of decorations and lighting can be dangerous for small children and fur babies. Décor that has small or sharp components should be placed so that it’s out of their reach—things like small lightbulbs can be swallowed. You may also consider fencing off your tree from seating areas and walkways.

As another safety measure to prevent choking hazards consider hanging only soft, non-chewable ornaments low on the tree, and delicate ones higher up.

Do a little homework on seasonal plant décor—for the safety of small children and pets.

You may not be aware that the vibrant red leaves of the poinsettia, which is a classic holiday plant, can be toxic if ingested and may result in a rash, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. So keep it out of the reach of small children, dogs, and cats. It’s important to note, though, that a large amount of the plant would have to be consumed to experience those symptoms.

Holly leaves and berries, as well as mistletoe, can also be toxic—depending on the quantity ingested— resulting in stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

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