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When Buying a Christmas Tree Think Safety First

Dry trees are a fire hazard, so pick a fresh one and keep it watered, doctors' group advises

presents under the christmas tree

SATURDAY, Dec. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Choosing the perfect Christmas tree is a fun tradition for many families, but it's important to consider fire safety when decorating for the holidays, a pediatricians' group advises.

People who opt for an artificial tree should make sure it's fire-resistant. This should be noted on its label, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

If you're buying a live Christmas tree for your home, the group recommends the following precautions:

  • Pick a fresh tree. Many people look for trees that are a certain size or shape, but it's also important to make sure it's not dried out. Dry trees may become a fire hazard. A fresh tree is green and its needles don't break or drop off its branches easily. The trunk of a fresh tree is also sticky.
  • Trim the trunk. Cutting a few inches off the trunk of the tree exposes fresh wood. This enables the tree to absorb water more efficiently and avoid drying out.
  • Water the tree. Be sure to keep the tree-stand filled with water. Trees in heated homes can dry out quickly.
  • Carefully consider tree placement. Christmas trees should not be near fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Trees should not block doorways. Instead, they should be placed away from high-traffic areas.

More information

The U.S. Fire Administration has more about Christmas tree safety.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016
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