Safe Holiday Decorating Tips

By JustMommies staff

Holiday decorating has become the norm in many neighborhoods across the nation. Community decorating contests have made lighting up the night skies during the month of December a new way to join our neighbors in celebration.

For others, setting up both simple and elaborate light or miniature decorative displays in their yards and homes has become a tradition in itself. Unfortunately, for far too many of us fall from ladders and rooftops, experiencing a myriad of bruises, sprains, broken bones, head injuries and even death while decorating for the holidays.

Last year, nearly 165,000 people were treated in America's emergency rooms just from ladder accidents, not to mention thousands more electrical and other decorating mishaps. Failing to take the proper safety precautions when decorating your home this holiday season can quickly take the Merry right out of your Christmas.

When decorating outdoors always be sure to:

-Use only wooden or fiberglass ladders around electrical lines. Metal ladders conduct electricity, which can be deadly in the event of an accident.

-Never work alone. Have someone else on hand in case of an emergency.

-Be sure your ladder is the right height. It should always extend at least 3 feet over the roofline.

-Never set your ladder on a muddy or unstable surface.

-Never exceed your ladder's weight limit and never stand on its bucket shelf.

-Don't carry equipment while climbing. Get someone to hand it to you instead.

-Face the ladder when climbing up or down. Always keep your body centered between the rails.

-Only use outdoor lighting outside.

-Read all manufacturers directions regarding outdoor lights and other decorations.

-Only use UL tested and approved lights, extension cords and electrical decorations. This ensures that they have been properly tested and approved for safety.

-Inspect all electrical decorations carefully before installation. Replace any cracked, broken o warped bulbs, cords or wires.

-Never use staples or nails to hang light strings. Use plastic hooks designed for this purpose. They are cheap and safe.

-Don't overload extension cords. Check packaging to determine how many strings can be safely run together or plugged in at one time,

-Never leave lights or other decorations on overnight or while away from home.

Accidents can happen, no matter how careful you are. To learn more about how you can safeguard yourself and your family while decorating this holiday season, check out the UL website at or for more information.