Dangers of not watering your Christmas tree

ByDiane Wilson and Catherine Chestnutt WTVD logo
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Christmas tree burns down within seconds
Watch as this Christmas tree burns down within seconds

During the holiday season, if you're putting up a tree, stringing lights around your home, or simply burning candles, safety may be the last thing on your mind.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said this time last year hospitals reported approximately 14,700 holiday decorating-related treated injuries.

To break that down even more, the CPSC said that's equivalent to an average of about 250 injuries per day during November and December.

In order to stay safe this holiday season and avoid a trip to the Emergency Room, the CPSC has some tips and tricks for you to keep in mind to protect not only you but your home as well.

The live Christmas tree

Test for freshness: Are the needles hard to pull off of the tree? When you tap the tree on the ground, not many needles should fall off. If your tree passes this test, this means you have a fresh tree

Avoid heat sources: Make sure to place your tree away from a heat source like fireplaces, vents, or radiators. If a room gets too warm it can dry out your tree, making more susceptible to become a fire hazard

Check out this video demonstration the CPSC did in their laboratory.

CPSC experts ignited a frequently-watered tree and an unwatered tree - the difference is unnerving.

The artificial tree

Look for a "fire resistant" label. While this doesn't ensure that the tree is fire proof, it helps make it more resistant to fire.

If you have a metallic tree, do not use electric lights.


Keep kids safe: Keep sharp ornaments away from small children. Also, avoid trimmings that look similar to candy, which children may try to put in their mouths

Watch your candles: Make sure to extinguish candles when you leave the room

Check your lights: Check your lights to make sure there aren't any frayed wires or loose connections

Inspect your outdoor lights: See if your outdoor lights are certified and make sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle

CPSC experts also did a demonstration with a Menorah to show the dangers of an open flame.

Menorah sets curtains on fire


Use caution with "fire salts:" While these salts produce colorful flames into your fires, they contain heavy metals that can be dangerous if swallowed. Make sure to keep them away from your children

Don't burn wrapping paper: Wrapping paper can ignite suddenly and burns very intensively, which can start a flash fire in your home

Smoke alarms

Make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on every floor and in every bedroom in your home.

Test your smoke alarms every month to make sure that they work properly, and change the batteries every year.