Deck the Halls Safely – with Safe Kids Coordinator Jessica Mitchell

Finally, the temperatures have cooled enough that there is the tiniest bite in the air that signals our desert winter. I love this time of year, surrounding myself with family and making memories for my children. In our house we’re putting up the tree, lighting candles and baking cookies. It smells like vanilla and pine and all things wintertime.

Of course, along with all the delights of the season there are some safety concerns:

  1. Candles
    Those pine-scented candles I love so much are a burn risk. I make sure to have them at least 12 inches from any flammable material, and because I have young children, out of their reach. When you leave a room you blow out any candles. I also have a set routine every night of checking to make sure I haven’t forgotten any candles.
  2. Decorations – Kid-friendly
    They’re shiny and glittery and just shout ‘Touch me!’ Watch out for baubles that break easily when you have young children around. Kids are curious and will want to play with the ornaments on the tree, so you might as well prepare. Move the ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks towards the top of the tree. That makes room at the bottom for the ones that are safer for young kids.
  3. Lights – Cords
    Stringed lights mean extra cords. Make sure cords are taped down to reduce trip risks. Also, make sure that you’re not overburdening the sockets and creating a fire risk. Check that your lights are in good working condition with no frayed or exposed wires or loose bulb connections.
  4. Tree
    If your family brings a pine tree inside at this time of year there are a few things you can do to lower the risk of fire. Make sure you keep the tree watered on a daily basis so that the needles don’t dry out. Is your tree located at least several feet from any heat source, including heating vents and lights as well as candles and fireplaces? Always turn the lights off on the tree when you go to bed or leave the house. When the season is done make sure your tree is disposed off. A dried out tree on your property is a fire risk.
  5. Smoke alarms
    Make sure you have checked your smoke alarms recently and the batteries are working. If the alarms are more than 10 years old they’ve probably expired, and it’s time to replace them.

Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season,


Jessica and family celebrating the holidays

Jessica Mitchell is the Safe Kids Pima County program coordinator. Safe Kids Pima County is a network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children aged 19 and under.

Spearheaded by Tucson Medical Center, the local coalition is part of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of more than 600 coalitions in 23 countries bringing together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families.

 For more tips on keeping your family safe all year round

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‘Tis the Season for Safety!

"Santa" Orbe TMC Crime Prevention K9

“Santa” Orbe
TMC Crime Prevention K9

Don’t let holiday happiness be marred by holiday hazards!  The TMC Security Team offers this information to help you and your family have a happy, healthy and SAFE holiday season.

At home
▪  Your Christmas tree could be thirsty!  Make sure it’s well hydrated to avoid becoming a holiday fire hazard.  A 6-foot tree will use about one gallon of water every two days.
▪  Keep in mind – trees cut early in the season run a greater risk of drying up before the holidays are over, making them more dangerous if they are decorated with lights.  When your tree dries up, don’t waste any time getting it out of the house.
▪  Be aware that sometimes criminals will pose as couriers delivering gifts to case your home, or commit a crime immediately.
▪  Be cautious that scammers may take advantage of people’s generosity during the holidays.
▪  When you leave your home for extended holiday travel, have a neighbor or friend keep an eye on your house while you’re away, including collecting mail and newspapers while you’re gone. 
▪  It’s never a good idea to post your upcoming holiday travel plans on social media, as it’s an open invite to burglars!
▪  Avoid having large displays of gifts visible from windows and doors.

Stay safe while staying warm
▪  If you use portable heaters, make sure they have an automatic safety shut-off switch and never leave them unattended in a room with children.
▪  Install smoke detectors on every level of your house, and test them monthly.  Replace batteries at least yearly.
▪  If any appliances or heating devices in your home produce carbon monoxide, install detectors in your home.  Make sure they are tested regularly and properly maintained.

Out and about
▪  Don’t leave gifts or other valuables in plain sight in your vehicle.
▪  You’re more likely to become the victim of a crime at night, or while you’re alone.  Try to do your shopping during daylight hours, but if you are out after dark, don’t hesitate to ask for a security guard to walk you to your car.
▪  Take a few minutes and photocopy the important items in your wallet, including your driver’s license, credit cards, etc.  Keep these documents in a secure place.  In the event your wallet is lost or stolen, having a record of everything will make it easier to cancel and report to police.

"Santa" Ax TMC Crime Prevention K9

“Santa” Ax
TMC Crime Prevention K9

▪  You probably already know that chocolate can be lethal to dogs, but did you know that grapes, raisins, avocados, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and walnuts can also cause a severe reaction including lethargy, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness and the inability to walk?
▪  Other things to keep in mind – holiday decorations can cut up the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction.  If chewed, live electrical cords can cause burns, difficulty breathing, seizures and cardiac arrest. 
▪  Pets may experience vomiting and diarrhea if they eat fatty trimmings and bones.  Swallowed bones can cause stomach perforation among other things! 
▪  If your pet ingests something potentially dangerous, play it safe and call your vet.  Or, the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is (888) 426-4435.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461