NORTHBROOK, Ill. November 1, 2011 – Every minute, 17 children visit the ER due to unintentional injuries, a startling number that equates to an estimated 9.2 million injuries a year (CDC Childhood Injury Report (2000-2006)). Household injuries are especially top of mind during the hectic months of November and December, with an estimated 230 people in the United States visiting emergency rooms each day as a result of holiday-related injuries. In response to these alarming statistics, UL, a global safety organization, is working with stars of Disney’s The Muppets, including Kermit the Frog, Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker, on a national campaign – Commit a Minute to Safety. The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness of the importance of holiday safety and make sure parents know valuable holiday safety information – water your tree daily, never leave a lit candle unattended, turn pot handles in while cooking, and always look for the UL Mark.
Beginning today, UL is asking families to take time out of their busy schedules to ensure they are making safety a priority this holiday season. To illustrate the simple steps families can take to dramatically cut the risk of injuries, UL, with the help of The Muppets characters Kermit the Frog, Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker, is launching a series of online safety videos and a national public service announcement (PSA) that provide families with vital safety tips to ensure a safe and bright holiday season. The first video focuses on the importance of fire safety and can be viewed at http://www.safetyathome.com/.
"The holidays are a happy time and we want to help keep them that way. Commit a Minute to Safety shows folks how easy it is to keep their home and family safe," said Kermit the Frog, who adds an additional holiday safety tip of his own: "Never mix mistletoe and romantic pigs. Trust me on this."
In addition to The Muppets holiday safety videos and PSA, UL has revamped its website and is offering downloadable holiday safety content such as the Safety Time learning and activity book for children. UL will also be updating its SafetyAtHome Facebook and Twitter pages with news about upcoming events including UL’s presenting sponsorship of the City of Chicago Tree Lighting and the National Tree Lighting in Washington, D.C.
"During the holidays, UL reminds families to look for the UL Mark on decorations, lights and electronics," said John Drengenberg, Consumer Safety Director at UL. "When you see the UL Mark, you can rest assured that the highest safety standards have been met."
UL independent engineers and scientists perform thousands of rigorous tests on products such as holiday lights, electric decorations and artificial trees. This year, UL offers the following safety guidelines to show how safety can take as little as one minute and help families identify and prevent hazards that too often result in accidents or tragedy.
- WATER YOUR TREE DAILY: Dry trees pose a substantial fire risk. After bringing your tree home, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk before putting it in a sturdy stand. Be sure to water it daily. Additionally, know your tree’s expiration date. After about four weeks, the tree will stop absorbing water and dry out, and should be properly discarded or recycled.
- CHECK YOUR LIGHTS, CHECK THEM TWICE: Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations for damage or wear. Cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections may pose a fire or shock hazard.
- DECORATE WITH A SAFE EYE: Cords should not be run under carpets or tacked up with metal nails or staples. Small decorations can be a choking hazard for small children or pets and should be kept out of reach.
- BE FLAME AWARE: Always blow out unattended candles and keep flammable materials "three feet from the heat" of lit candles or fireplaces.
- INDOOR OR OUTDOOR? LOOK FOR THE UL MARK: Indoor-use-only light strings are marked with UL’s green holographic label. Indoor-or outdoor-use light strings are marked with UL’s red holographic label. Only use light strings and other electrical decorations that bear the UL Mark near the plug, signifying that safety standards have been met.
To learn more about UL’s Commit a Minute to Safety holiday campaign and for valuable safety information for keeping your home safe and bright this holiday season, please visit http://www.safetyathome.com/.