Angie's List: Disaster-proof your home for the holidays - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Angie's List: Disaster-proof your home for the holidays

Bright colors, yummy smells and lots of decorations make the holiday season special. But, if you have small kids or pets, it's important to know the dangers lurking within all of that celebrating.
When decking the halls, don't forget to child and pet-proof them too. Start with your Christmas tree, which experts say can be the biggest danger of the season.

"If you have small children or pets it could be a really good idea to anchor your tree. Otherwise, you might walk into the room and find your tree is toppled over. You can do that really easily with a little hook and some twine connected to the ceiling or the wall behind the tree," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.

"There are gates you can use to kind of surround the tree. If you got little ones that are crawling you wanna be concerned with the smaller type of ornaments, choking hazards," said child safety expert, Kent McCool.

For pets, make electrical cords as unappetizing as possible.

"The area of wire that you have to expose use a little bit of lemon juice or bitter apple, something on there just to dissuade them. But again, I'd keep it unplugged when you can, but otherwise just put some kind of a bitter tasting product on the exposed wires," said veterinarian, Dr. Tom Buchanan. 

Be sure to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food.

"Around the holidays you introduce a lot of different choking hazards to your children and for pets. So, think about packaging material, plastic sleeves you might be using, as well as bows and wrapping paper. So, just be sure you keep things up and off the floor," said Hicks.

"Christmas time we see a lot of foreign bodies. We had a kitty two years ago that ended up having to have most of its bowel removed because it had a ribbon it had eaten from a present and that caused a linear obstruction. Bulbs. We had a Labrador that ate a Christmas bulb intact that had to be removed from the stomach," said Buchanan. 

Table cloths usually hang at the perfect height for yanking or climbing, so you may want to pass on those, along with certain holiday plants, which can cause health problems for pets.

"Lilies are something that people often don't think about, but lily toxicity is actually one of the more common ones we see and they're often around Christmas time. And so, they can cause kidney failure and acute kidney failure. We just had a cat in here within the last month that had that. So, be real watchful for that," said Buchanan.

When you're done decorating, it's always a good idea to double check your disaster-proofing efforts.

"You know getting down on your hands and knees. Kinda seeing things from their perspective. When a baby starts crawling you'd be surprised what you might see that could be dangerous to them," said McCool.

Angie's List says mistletoe can also be toxic to dogs and cats.

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