Making a List, Checking it Twice: Tips for Celebrating Safely this Holiday Season
New CPSC data highlights holiday-related risks, including unsafe toys, decorations and cooking fires
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As people nationwide prepare to celebrate the holidays, new data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlights the importance of taking safety precautions to avoid potential dangers associated with common holiday products and traditions.
“Whether you’re shopping for gifts online or gathering for in-person or virtual holiday celebrations, it is important that everyone takes steps to keep holiday festivities safer,” said CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric. “Avoid a visit to the emergency-room this holiday season by following some simple safety guidelines.”
Unsafe toys, cooking fires, decorating, holiday trees and candles lead to thousands of injuries and deaths each year. People can celebrate more safely this holiday season by making a list of safety precautions and checking it twice. Here are the latest data and safety tips from CPSC:
Toy manufacturers and retailers are facing both supply-chain delays and global shipping issues, prompting concerns about a possible toy shortage. This could lead consumers to scramble to buy products wherever they can find them, and create room for unscrupulous sellers to sell dangerous or counterfeit products.
- Toy-related injuries and deaths continue to impact thousands of children in the United States each year: CPSC reports that in 2020, there were nearly 150,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and nine deaths among children ages 14 and younger, with most of these deaths associated with choking on small parts of toys.
- Nonmotorized scooters account for 21 percent of all toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries: The number of injuries increased 17 percent in fiscal year 2021, from 35,600 scooter injuries reported in 2020, to 41,700 injuries reported in 2021.
As people cook Thanksgiving Dinner, bake holiday treats, and share meals with family and friends, it is important to take safety precautions to avoid dangerous residential fires.
- Cooking fires remain the # 1 cause of residential fires. CPSC data show that there are about 360,000 home fires every year, leading to about 2,400 deaths and nearly 10,400 injuries each year.
- An average of 1,700 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day each year, more than three times the average number of cooking fires on any other day of the year.
- Turkey fryers create particular risks. Since 1998, CPSC is aware of 222 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers, resulting in 83 injuries and $9.7 million in property loss.
Holiday decorations and celebrations are an annual tradition for many families. However, dry Christmas trees, burning candles, and holiday lights can pose a real hazard if not used and maintained properly.
- On average, there are about 160 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with almost half of the incidents involving falls. In the 2019 holiday season, about 14,800 people were treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries. In the 2019 holiday season, there have been no deaths associated with seasonal decorations.
- Dry Christmas trees and unattended candles can lead to dangerous fires. From 2016 to 2018, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires in November and December each year, resulting in 30 deaths, 180 injuries, and nearly $56 million in property loss per year.
Follow these CPSC safety tips to keep your family safe this holiday season:
- Follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging and choose toys that match each child's interests and abilities.
- Get safety gear, including helmets, for scooters and other riding toys – and make sure that children use them every time.
- Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3 and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.
Online shopping for toys or other products continues to be a popular and convenient alternative to visiting brick and mortar stores, but particularly in a time of potential toy shortages, it is important that people follow these safety tips:
- Always buy from stores and online retailers you know and trust.
- To avoid counterfeits, scrutinize the product, the packaging, and the label. If the price seems too good to be true, this could be a sign that the product is counterfeit.
- Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization and the manufacturer’s label on electrical products.
- Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove.
- Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home.
- Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water and look for the “Fire Resistant” label when buying an artificial tree.
- Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow them out before leaving the room.
Visit CPSC’s Holiday Safety Information Center for more holiday safety tips, as well as a sharable Holiday Safety video, poster, and b-roll that simulates the serious risks posed by using a turkey fryer too close to the home, a dry Christmas tree, and burning candles near flammable items.
Holiday Safety PSA:
Holiday Safety B-Roll with Spanish Soundbites: