Safety experts spell out how to avoid holiday hazards

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The holidays should be a time for family, fun, and celebration, yet safety experts say even simple things like wrapping paper and decorations can cause injuries, if handled improperly.

The Glendale Fire Department demonstrated just how quickly a Christmas tree fire can ignite. Within 30 seconds, a tree fire can spread to the ceiling, reducing furniture, toys and presents to ashes.

Capt. John Payne said last year in the city of Glendale, the department investigated 10 fires that involved Christmas trees.

Dr. Cyrus Rangan with the California Poison Control System teamed up with firefighters to demonstrate how easy it is for the holidays to take a tragic turn.

A top reason? Parents get distracted.

"A lot is going in. There is a lot of activity in the house, and the supervision is not what we are used to during the year. And these are the kind of circumstances that lead to some of these safety hazards," said Rangan.

Broken ornaments and button batteries pose a danger when swallowed. "These small batteries are not only choking hazards but they can be toxic hazards," Rangan said.

Candy canes, nuts, ornament hooks and beads are all choking hazards.
But another concern, especially this holiday season, is marijuana edibles."A young child is not going to be able to tell the difference. They are going to look at it as a piece of candy and treat it like a piece of candy, " Rangan said.

"You may see gastrointestinal upset. They may have a feeling of disorientation and confusion and walking around with some difficulty. If you see any of these signs get to an emergency room right away."

Fluffy flocking may look yummy to children, but it can cause serious illness when ingested. Flocked or not, experts say keep your trees far from the fireplace and never use holiday wrap or tinsel for kindling.

"These wrapping papers have paints and dyes and glitter and all kinds of materials that should not be burned. And if you do, they can be toxic," Rangan said.

The seasonal rise in emergency calls reveals parents need constant reminding, because the last thing you want are first responders showing up at your door.

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