OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Like it or not, the annual elf family tradition is back. But before you embark on those elaborate setups, there are some safety tips to follow that could be lifesaving.
"Children around the world adore the tradition of a Scout Elf who comes to visit and delivers nightly reports to Santa throughout the Christmas season," said a spokeswoman for The Lumistella Company, the market leader of the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ brand. "Scout Elves build Christmas cheer by landing in a new spot in the home each morning, creating a delightful game of Christmas hide-and-seek."
But creating that joy can sometimes lead to accidents or injuries. While calls for service from local fire departments are minimal, there have been reports of some elves who have had a few close calls.
Last year, an Overland Park, Kansas, couple learned the hard way that elves and ovens don't mix. Matt and Chelsea Hightower told FOX News that they would never hide their elves in the oven again after an unfortunate accident.
From falls, flames, slips and trips, there are some warnings to keep you and your family safe this holiday:
"Be careful on ladders if placing your elf up high and don't use chairs as ladders," Overland Park Fire Department spokesman Jason Rhodes said.
Flammability is also something to keep in mind. Elves shouldn't be placed on or near flames or electrical sources. Rhodes advises being careful not to put your elf near candles, space heaters, fireplaces or anything that could cause combustion.
And remember, placing your elf where it might become a slip or trip hazard should be avoided.
According to The Lumistella Company, more than 16 million products have been sold worldwide since 2005. The company said they take product safety very seriously.
"Because quality and product safety are our primary focus, we often test these products to higher toy safety standards to ensure safety and quality that exceeds the expectations of our consumers," the company said in a product safety statement.
When executing inspirational ideas for your elf, they list some additional warnings on their website.
- Parents should be mindful of small objects that could be choking hazards.
- Children should always be under adult supervision when interacting with their elves when sharp objects are used, like metal mini blinds or glass mirrors. The same is advised if using string, wire or ribbon.
- Be cautious of any breakable items that could shatter.
- Any wood products used in your setup could cause splinters or other injuries.
- Use caution if you decide to integrate food products with non-edible materials.
- If you are using a window in your setup, you should make sure it's securely closed and locked.
If you are thinking about going green this year, the manufacturer also warns that recycled household items should be clean and safe. Using containers that once contained bleach or other hazardous chemicals should be avoided.
For first timers looking to connect with other parents for idea inspiration, there's an official Scout Elf ideas Facebook parents group available.