Home Security and Safety Tips for the Holidays

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The holiday season is a time for celebration, togetherness, and spreading joy. However, it's also a season that demands extra vigilance when it comes to safety. Whether you're staying home or traveling, protecting your packages, or ensuring the well-being of your beloved pets, safety should be a top priority.

In this concise holiday safety guide, we've divided essential tips into four sections to help you navigate the festive season safely. From safeguarding your home against potential hazards to keeping your furry family members out of harm's way, these tips will help you enjoy a happy and safe holiday season.

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Grandparents And Grandchildren sitting on sofa in living room during Christmas holidays

Image: ljubaphoto, iStock

Safety tips if you're staying home for the holidays

Holiday lights:

  • Before decking the halls with lights, check for frayed cords and cracked lamps.
  • Replace broken lamps and dispose of frayed cords.
  • Choose lights with independent laboratory testing and turn them off when you're not around.

Furnace and fireplace safety: Ensure your heating equipment is safe by having a professional inspect the chimney and furnace, change air filters, clean air ducts, and hire a chimney sweep. Remember to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Light Bulb
‘Tis the season for home security

Home security systems can do more than keep burglars out of your home. Smart home security systems come with sensors to help you prevent fires, floods, and frozen pipes. Check out our recommendations to find the right security system for your home.

Candle safety: Enjoy the cozy ambiance of candles while prioritizing safety:

  • Never leave unattended: Don't leave burning candles alone, even briefly.
  • Keep a distance: Ensure candles are far from flammable items.
  • Use sturdy holders: Use stable candle holders.
  • Create a safe space: Place candles out of children's and pets' reach.
  • Trim the wick: Trim wicks to ¼ inch before each use.
    Be prepared: Have a fire extinguisher ready for emergencies.

Security tips if you're traveling for the holidays

Step up home security: Ensure your home security system is working correctly, and consider adding 24/7 pro monitoring during your travels. Cancel mail and deliveries, and arrange for snow removal in snowy areas.

Get a car inspection: Have your car inspected and maintain proper tire care. Create a car emergency kit with essential supplies.

Keep travel plans offline: Avoid posting your travel plans on social media to prevent burglars from knowing when your home will be empty. Notify a trusted neighbor and use home automation to make it appear as if someone is home.

Tips to protecting holiday packages

Our latest survey shows that an estimated 119 million packages were swiped off porches in the past 12 months. Don't let your holiday swag tempt porch pirates—use these tips to keep packages safe.

Delivery alerts: Sign up for delivery alerts to track your packages. Require signatures for valuable items or consider alternative delivery locations like package lockers or a friend's address.

Use technology: Install doorbell cameras and outdoor security cameras to monitor your packages. Consider a monitored home security system.

Collaborate with neighbors: Work with neighbors to keep an eye on unusual activities and share security camera footage.

Holiday safety tips for pets

Prevent runaways: Secure pets in a safe space during festivities, leash them when necessary, and use pet gates to prevent escapes. Ensure your pets have microchips with updated contact information.

Beware of toxic decorations: Keep decorations out of reach from pets, especially toxic plants like chrysanthemums and moldy pumpkins or hay.

Avoid harmful foods: Keep pets away from toxic foods like chocolate, alcohol, grapes, raisins, onions, artificial sweeteners, nutmeg, and turkey bones. Consult your vet for personalized food advice.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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