Limit your home fire risk during the holidays

Published 4:47 pm Friday, December 22, 2017

It may be the most wonderful time of year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Along with the cooking and decorations that make the season magical, the holidays present risks for home fires and burns.

An independent survey conducted by Shriners Hospitals for Children found that many Americans do not follow key fire and burn safety tips despite being aware of dangerous risks. For example, 25 percent of respondents reported leaving lit candles unattended, and 27 percent said they have left them in reach of children.

“Some of these findings seem alarming, but each year our burn hospitals see the unfortunate results – children who have been injured in cooking related accidents or in fires associated with holiday decorations or candles,” said Kenneth Guidera, M.D., chief medical officer for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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“These injuries can mean years of ongoing treatments and extensive rehabilitation for a child. That’s why we encourage families to learn about fire safety and prevention before a tragedy occurs.”

The Shriners Hospitals locations that specialize in burn care provide critical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children with varying degrees of new and healed burns. Their burn facilities are staffed and equipped to provide reconstructive and restorative surgery for healed burns, as well as treatments for various other skin conditions. Learn more at

Fire and burn hazards are prevalent in many homes throughout the holidays, and Shriners Hospitals for Children offers these tips to remind families how to stay safe:

Never leave lit candles unattended. If you must use flame-burning candles, make sure to extinguish them when you leave the room.

When cooking, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove, out of the reach of children.

Never leave a hot stove or oven unattended.

While cooking, keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if its contents catch fire.

If you decorate using a live, fresh-cut Christmas tree, water it daily.

Keep trees and other flammable decor at least 3 feet away from heaters and flames.

Discard decorative lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.

Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

Have an escape plan in case of a fire and practice it with your family members so they know how to react if a fire does occur.

Know the burn care resources in your community.

Candle safety
for the holidays

Candles are one of the most common sources of holiday fires. Never leave lit candles unattended and take these additional precautions to have a safe and fun holiday season:

When candles are lit, make sure they are in stable holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked over.

Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children.

Be conscious of nearby surroundings. Never place a candle near drapery, decorations or other flammable items that may easily catch fire. Also avoid drafty areas or fans, which can accelerate flames or accidentally blow a flammable item onto a candle.

Know that the safest way to extinguish a candle is with a snuffer.

Consider using wickless or flameless candles. There are numerous options that cast a warm glow so you can enjoy the ambiance of a candle without the risk.

Visit to learn key fire safety practices to help avoid injuries this holiday season. You can find activity books, tip cards and a five-minute online quiz to help identify and eliminate potential risks.