Fun Fact: Did you know an Elf on the Shelf is flammable?
The NFPA warns that heating, winter storms, candles, trees and holiday décor (including the pesky Elf on the Shelf) all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. In two of every five fires, decorations were too close to a heat source. Oops.
My family hasn’t even been in our new home for 2 years, and *we nearly burned it down. I mean *Buddy, our Elf on the Shelf, did. He set himself up on our dining room chandelier, on top of a light bulb. What we didn’t know was, when the switch was flipped on, Buddy’s leg was melting.
My son and I walked past the dining room as we headed to the bus stop, and I smelled a campfire. Luckily, I had an idea of what it was and had him wait in the garage for me because, “I forgot something.” I didn’t want him to be scarred for life that A.) Buddy just might be on fire and B.) I touched our elf, making his magic disappear.
Crisis averted, lesson learned, but ho-ho-holy cow. That was a close one. Now, we have to Buddy has to cover the lower half of his body in all future hiding spots.
This happened to another family (it’s actually happened to a lot of families – trust me, google it), which prompted a Good Housekeeping Product Testing Analyst to release the following tips to protect your home:
- Be mindful of anything that radiates heat. You don’t want to put any ribbons around lamp shades or blankets on radiators. Stockings over fireplaces can pose as a fire hazard as well. With electrical decorations, don’t use staples or nails since this can pierce the insulation.
- Keep toys away from warm objects. Manufacturers are not always required to meet a flammability standard, so it is best practice to keep toys away from anything that may get too warm or catch fire like fireplaces, lamps, candles, and stoves. In addition, always check to be sure that your lamp is using the correct wattage bulb or it may overheat. The CPSC recommendsusing a bulb of 60 watts or less if you are unsure what wattage your lamp needs (and for smaller, unmarked ceiling fixtures with miniature bulbs, use 25 watts or less).
- Watch where you place your Christmas tree: Location is important – keep it out of a high traffic area and away from anything that radiates heat (like a radiator or fireplace). Make sure to also water your tree dailyso it doesn’t become too dry.
- Avoid placing candles near paper and trees. Fires caused by candles peak during the holiday season. In general, it’s best to avoid using them if possible.
- Keep your electric cords away from carpets.If you run the cord underneath it can break down the insulation and act as an incubator for a potential fire. In general, always check that your electrical devices have been vetted by a reputable third party laboratory, like UL.
Oh, also important to note, home fires caused by cooking peak at Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. That said, they could happen any day so it’s important to have a fire extinguisher handy. Just ask Kyle and Wil.
Happy holidays, y’all.