Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - According to the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 400 fires related to holiday decorations occur annually—but you can keep your home and family out of such statistics.

"As a leader in pediatric specialty care and burn prevention, we want to stress that many burn-related injuries can be prevented by exercising extra care," says Richard Kagan, Chief of Staff, Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati and a member of the physician executive team.

Preventing injuries and keeping children safe has long been part of the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children. The health care system has an ongoing burn awareness program, focusing on safety in the home. Here are some hints to consider:

Christmas Trees

• If you choose a live tree, make sure the needles are green and hard to pull from the branches, and the trunk feels sticky.

• Keep the tree stand full of water.

• Place the tree away from heat sources.

• Do not keep the tree up longer than two weeks.

• After the holidays, dispose of the tree at a recycling center or have it taken away.

• Do not put tree branches in a fireplace or stove.

• If you get an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled "flame resistant."

• Trim the tree with flame- resistant items, such as plastic tinsel.

Holiday Lights

• Before using holiday lights, check for frayed wires, breaks in wire insulation, cracked sockets and excessive wear, and replace if needed.

• Follow directions and don't combine more than three strands, unless the labels indicate it's safe.

• If using an extension cord, connect the lights to it before plugging it into an outlet.

• Check the wires regularly; they should not feel warm.

• Be sure lights being used outdoors have been certified as appropriate for such usage.

• Unplug all lights before going to sleep.


• Use non-flammable or flame-retardant decorations.

• Keep decorations away from heat sources or vents.

• Don't let decorations block exits.

• Don't put wrapping paper in a fireplace.

• Keep candles away from anything that can burn.

• Extinguish candles when leaving the room and before going to sleep.

• Don't place candles on a Christmas tree.

Holiday Cooking

• If you're going to use a turkey fryer, be sure to follow directions.

• Remember general kitchen safety advice such as keeping children away from heating and cooking stoves, fireplaces and fireplace screens, as well as hot liquids.

To learn more, you can visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.