Consumer Product Update - Health Canada Reminds Canadians of Holiday Safety Tips
December 11, 2018
The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. However, holiday traditions can involve some safety risks that may not be found at other times of the year. Health Canada reminds Canadians to follow these tips for a safe and happy holiday season.
Holiday lights and lighted decorations
- Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency, such as CSA, cUL or cETL.
- Light strings and other lighted decorations, such as wreaths and reindeer, are rated for either indoor or outdoor use. Ensure that indoor lights and decorations are used only inside. Read the instructions on the package and do not exceed the recommended wattage.
- Check all light bulbs, light strings and cords. Replace broken or burned-out bulbs, and discard any light strings or cords that are frayed, or that have exposed wires or loose connections.
- Turn off holiday lights, lighted decorations, pre-lit trees and decorations before you go to bed or leave your home.
- Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using seasonal lights, as some may have been recalled.
Holiday trees and decorations
- When buying a real tree, make sure it's fresh and water it daily.
- Keep trees away from high traffic areas, heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
- Choose tinsel, ornaments, artificial icicles and other trimmings made of plastic or non-leaded metals.
- Don't let children put decorations in their mouths, as some may be easily swallowed and harmful to their health.
- Keep metal, sharp or breakable tree ornaments, and those with small removable parts or button batteries, away from young children.
Toys and gifts
- Toys can be recalled for health or safety reasons. Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for more information about the latest recalls.
- Buy age-appropriate toys. Toys for older children may contain small parts or other hazards that may make them unsafe for young children.
- Read and follow the labels, warnings, safety messages and other instructions that come with a toy.
- Purchase sturdy, well-made toys that come with contact information for the manufacturer or importer.
- Ensure that batteries are properly installed by an adult and not accessible to children.
- Make sure that button batteries (often found in musical greeting cards, small electronic devices, children's books and flashing jewellery) stay securely in the products. Look for products with battery compartments that prevent easy access. Button batteries are small enough to be swallowed and can cause serious internal injuries in as little as two hours.
- Supervise children at play and teach them to use their new toys safely.
- Promptly remove and discard all toy packaging like plastic bags, plastic wrap, foam, staples, ties and protective film. A child can suffocate or choke on some of these items.
- Keep burning candles away from materials that can catch fire like curtains, decorations, Christmas trees and clothing.
- Do not leave candles burning with no one in the room and extinguish all candles before you go to sleep or leave your home.
- Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets.
- Trim candle wicks to a height of 5-7 mm (1/4 inch) before lighting the candle and trim them again every 2-3 hours to prevent high flames.
- Use well ventilated candle holders that are sturdy and will not tip over. Avoid wooden or plastic holders, as these can catch fire. Use caution with glass candle holders, which can break when they get too hot.