The beginning of fall brings quite a few special holidays. These days usually have some very nice decorations…but are they safe?
Candles: A lit candle in a creatively carved pumpkin is one of the hallmarks of Halloween. Unfortunately, they’re also a hazard. They can be knocked over by children or pets and start a fire. That fire could be a costumed child, which makes it even worse.
Costumes: It’s very important to make sure a child’s costume is safe. Can the child see clearly? Is it likely to cause the child to trip? Is it flammable? These are all things to consider when making or buying a Halloween costume.
Candy: This is more for the pets than the kids. Chocolate and any sugar free candies are a major hazard. They can both kill cats and dogs, so make sure to keep the candy well out of the pet’s vicinity.
Bones: Turkeys are a common entre for this holiday, and set at the table it makes a beautiful decoration as well. However, the bones are not safe for pets. They are brittle and could splinter in the mouth or at any other point in the digestive tract. It is expensive to treat and could result in the death of a pet.
Leaves: Fall leaves are gorgeous decorations, but care needs to be taken if you are using the real thing rather than a good replica. Some leaves can make pets sick, and they aren’t exactly good for children if ingested. Walnut leaves and the leaves of most stone fruits are on the “avoid” list.
Mistletoe: This parasitic plant is one of the main decorations for Christmas. It’s also dangerous to anyone who ingests it. Herbalists of old have used this to lower blood pressure. That will happen to anyone who ingests it, whether they have high blood pressure or not. It can also cause some severe stomach pain.
Pine: There are many people who are allergic to pine and don’t know it. They don’t make the connection between the tree and always being sick at Christmas. I didn’t make the connection until I went into respiratory distress. We don’t use pine…
Holly: The biggest problem with holly leaves are the spines. They have been known to scratch or perforate the digestive tract. As for the berries, there are known adverse affects for pregnant and nursing women. How the rest of us would react isn’t clearly known, but there are indications they could cause some serious stomach problems.
Tinsel: Our cat almost died from eating tinsel. He loves the sound of it when he chews it and he will go after any he can find. I seriously doubt he’s the only cat who does this.
It’s not so much the decorations at New Year’s, it’s what we do. Giving a small child a 2000 degree stick to play with isn’t really a good idea, even if we did use them as children.
We also love noise at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks go off and can actually start fires. It happened to a neighbor a few years ago, though admittedly the guy who did it was shooting roman candles sideways from his roof. At a guess, he’d had a little too much bubbly at that point (another hazard).
The worst are those who insist on shooting guns into the air. What goes up must come down, usually at the same velocity. People are killed by this every year. Please do not do this.
Lastly, there is often a lot of alcohol consumed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If you’re going to drink, please don’t drive. Select a designated driver or stay home so you don’t become part of a tragic statistic.
Holidays are fun, but we ought to be responsible during them. Spending time making sure the decorations we use are safe or in a safe location is important. It usually doesn’t take much longer to find a workable solution to all of these dangerous decorations.