Have a holly, jolly holiday with these tips from Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America

December 1, 2021

December 1—The holiday season is a time for family, friends, food and the holiday spirit. As you get ready to decorate your house, start shopping for gifts or find ways to stay warm, make sure you stay safe!

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles, and more than two of every five decoration fires happen because a heat source is too close to decorations. In addition, in December of 2020, BRCA’s national system of burn care saw a 17% increase in electrical burn referrals.

To help make sure your winter holidays are fun and safe, follow these tips:


  • Before the holidays, check all fire alarms or smoke detectors throughout your house and test to ensure the batteries are working.
  • Candles are nice decorative touches for the holidays but can quickly become dangerous. Make sure any lit candles are out of reach of children or pets and away from flammable materials like decorations, tablecloths, clothes and more.
  • Check your string lights before hanging them, and replace any strings that have worn or broken cords or have loose bulb connections.
  • Don’t use nails to hang your lights! Always use clips to help prevent damage to the light cord.
  • Some decorations and lights are specific to indoor or outdoor use. Check the box or manufacturer’s instructions on where you can put your decorations.


  • Make sure the toy you’re buying is age-appropriate! Most toy boxes will indicate the appropriate age range for the toy, and some even include a red circle with a slash to show which ages should not play with the toy.
  • Check each toy for choking hazard warnings! Some toys include small parts, broken bits, marbles, coins, miniature figurines and more.
  • Look for non-toxic toys. While no toy should be chewed on or eaten, looking for non-toxic toys can help prevent accidental ingestion of harmful materials.


  • Before cooking, set up a three-foot safety zone/boundary by the oven and instruct all children not to go in that zone.
  • Always stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove or if you have food in the oven.
  • Preparing a large meal is difficult. Set timers for different dishes to help prevent burning food, spills and more.
  • Even with a safety zone around the oven, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove when cooking and out of reach of children.
  • Consider investing in a kitchen fire extinguisher to have on hand in case of emergencies.
  • Once you have finished cooking, make sure all appliances are turned off before leaving the kitchen unattended.
  • When cooking, don’t wear loose or flowy-sleeved tops or outfits, and keep all hand towels and potholders away from hot surfaces, gas stoves, candles and more.


  • Broken light bulbs or wires on string lights or too many lights strung together.
  • Overloaded outlets or cracked sockets.
  • Heat sources too close to decorations.
  • Unattended hazards like lit candles or leaving food on the stove or oven.
  • Make sure your Christmas tree stays watered. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it is fire retardant.


  • Periodically check wires around the house; if they are warm to the touch, you need to replace them.
  • Make sure all decorative lighting is turned off before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Make sure your Christmas tree isn’t blocking an exit and that it is at least three feet away from any heat source. In most cases, a lit Christmas tree burns faster than a newspaper.
  • Make sure pets and children don’t have access to cords or outlets, and create a safe boundary away from decorations, candles and lights to help prevent injuries.
  • Only use lighting evaluated by a recognized lab like Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • If you are worried about remembering to unplug lights, think about getting a timer to help shut off the lights for you.
  • You never know what will happen, so consider keeping a fire extinguisher in the house.

Across our system, our providers are available 24/7 to deliver patient-focused burn and wound care but taking preventive measures can help you avoid an injury.

For more information about Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America, contact Christina Maraone, VP of Marketing, at [email protected] or call 855-863-9595.

About Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America

Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America is the largest system of burn care in the United States. Each year, our physicians and advanced practice providers treat patients of all ages for a wide range of injuries, including thermal, chemical and electrical burns, skin and soft tissue disorders, complex wounds and traumatic extremity injuries. For more information, visit our website at burncenters.com or visit our social media accounts on FacebookInstagram or LinkedIn.