GRU recommends decorating, giving gifts with caution this holiday season

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - 'Tis the season to celebrate. Still, GRU officials warn, no matter if it's Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa in your house, deck the halls and buy toys with care.

Greater Augusta Coordinator for Safe Kids Rene Hopkins said," Children under the age of 8 should not be given electrical toys; toys that plug in such as trains and baking ovens. "

Hopkins warns they're major burn hazards, but said there are ways to prevent those accidents.

"Pay attention to the age information on the label. The government requires those now. A toy that says '3-6' is not appropriate for a toddler and it probably has choking hazards."

Another hazard she said fools even the most well-meaning decorators?  The Christmas tree. Hopkins said, whether your tree is fresh off the lot or just off the store shelf, both can turn into a fire hazard.

"If you're buying a live tree, make sure it's fresh. Take your fingers,  grab the needles and pull. If they come off freely in your hand, it's not fresh and is going to become a burn hazard quickly. No tree, artificial or fake, should go within three feet of a heating source."

Some other tips?

  1. Don't burn wrapping paper in the fire place. The paper has chemical toxins that can be released into the air.
  2. Check electrical cords to make sure they don't have cracks or frays.
  3. Keep ribbon away from small children. 7 inches can strangle.
  4. Unplug lights before going to bed.
  5. Never burn the tree in the fire place.
  6. Water the Christmas tree daily.
  7. Never run cords under carpet.

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