Don’t let an accident ruin your Christmas

Home Safety Officer, Tom Durrant, offers some seasonal home safety advice. INNT 51-511CON
Home Safety Officer, Tom Durrant, offers some seasonal home safety advice. INNT 51-511CON

With Christmas almost here, the Newtownabbey Home Accident Prevention team is reminding people that it is also a time when accidents in the home increase.

Tom Durrant, Home Safety Officer explains: “Christmas is one of the most fun times of the year, but with all the commotion involved in meeting up with family, over-excited children and sometimes alcohol added to the mix as well, it can also present dangers in terms of health and safety in the home. Here are a few tips to help keep your home a safe and happy one this Christmas.”

• Christmas tree lights should conform to British standards and have the correct fuse fitted. Check that the wiring looks sound; if it isn’t, don’t risk using them! Remember to switch off and unplug lights at night or when going out and take care not to overload electrical sockets with too many sets of lights.

• Balloons can be a potential choking hazard for children. Don’t let children blow up balloons, and clear up pieces from burst balloons so small children can’t pick them up and put them in their mouths. It is also dangerous to inhale helium from balloons and should be avoided - remember that children will copy what grown-ups do, so lead by example!

• Buy toys from a reputable retailer as a cheap toy may not be such a bargain if it’s unsafe and causes an accident. Look for toys that have the CE mark and name and address of importer or distributor on the packaging. Most importantly check they are suitable for the age of the child. A safe toy can become a danger to a child who is too young for it as they can choke on small parts, so make sure small children don’t get hold of older children’s toys.

• Candles should be set on a heat proof surface and never left unattended.

• Decorations are also tempting for young children to play with, but make sure those with small parts or that are breakable are out of children’s reach.

• There is an increased risk of burns and scalds so take extra care in the kitchen - keep children out and keep hot saucepans away from the edge of worktops and always make sure there is enough clear heat proof work surface to place hot food on as it is removed from the oven.

• It may be cosy to light the fire at Christmas, but remember to get the chimney swept, especially if the fireplace hasn’t been used for a while. Blocked chimneys and air vents can lead to a fire not burning correctly and giving off poisonous carbon monoxide gas. An audible carbon monoxide alarm may be a life-saving present idea for someone with an oil, gas, or solid fuel burning appliance in the home.

For more information about home safety, ring Tom Durrant on Tel: 028 9034 0160.