ESFI Urges Families to Help Keep Children Safe this Holiday Season

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From colorful and sparkling decorations to shiny new toys, there are many reasons why the winter holiday season is a special time of year for young children. Unfortunately, this time of year is also plagued by increased instances of home fires and preventable accidents. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is providing simple and important tips to help families across the country keep their young ones safe this holiday season.

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Nearly 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home when adult supervision is present, and the addition of electric holiday décor in homes puts children at even greater risk.

From colorful and sparkling decorations to shiny new toys, there are many reasons why the winter holiday season is a special time of year for young children. Unfortunately, this time of year is also plagued by increased instances of home fires and preventable accidents. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is providing simple and important tips to help families across the country keep their young ones safe this holiday season.

Every day, nearly seven children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for electrical shock and burn injuries caused by tampering with a wall outlet, according to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition, more than 500 children under five years of age are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries associated with electric extension cords.

ESFI’s annual holiday safety awareness campaign encourages families and communities across the country to Make Safety a Tradition of the holiday season. ESFI, in partnership with The Home Depot, is educating consumers about the safety concerns associated with the winter holiday season.

“Nearly 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home when adult supervision is present, and the addition of electric holiday décor in homes puts children at even greater risk,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. “Look for and eliminate potential danger spots near lights, trees, extension cords, and electrical outlets to ensure that this happy time of year does not turn tragic.”

The following tips will help you keep child safety in mind as you prepare your home for the holidays:

  • Do not allow children to play with holiday lights, electrical decorations or extension cords.
  • Install tamper resistant receptacles to prevent electrical shocks and burns, or use safety covers on unused outlets accessible to children, including those on extension cords.
  • Do not use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised.
  • Keep matches, lighters and candles out of children’s reach.
  • Turn the thermostat on your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of scalding.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from cooking appliances. Never leave a child unsupervised while cooking or when an electric or gas stove is within reach.
  • Plan for a fire emergency before it happens. Be sure to explain your family fire escape plan to overnight houseguests and babysitters.
  • Make sure everyone in your family can recognize the sound of the smoke alarm and knows what it means.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly by pressing the TEST button to ensure that they are in working condition.
  • Read all toy labels and instructions before letting children play with them. Check to make sure the child meets the age requirements specified on the packaging.

Visit http://www.holidaysafety.org for more tips and tools to help keep children safe throughout the holiday season.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. ESFI proudly sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May, and engages in public education campaigns throughout the year to prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities in the home and the workplace. For more information about ESFI and National Electrical Safety Month, visit http://www.electrical-safety.org.

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Julie Chavanne
Electrical Safety Foundation International
703-562-4643
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