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Buzz kill: Christmas light safety tips for the festive season


Decorating your home come December is a Christmas tradition shared by millions of Aussies.

Used correctly, Christmas lights are relatively safe like most electronics. However, faulty lights may cause fires as well as electric shocks.

If you’re about to dust off your Christmas lights and deck the halls for the festive season, follow these Christmas lights tips to keep your family and neighbours safe these holidays.

How to check your Christmas lights meet Australian standards

Christmas lights sold in Australia must meet safety standards. Look for an approval number or the compliance symbol.

Buzz kill: Christmas light safety tips for the festive season | Shine Lawyers

Lights purchased from overseas or bought second-hand might not be compliant, with overseas safety standards differing from Australia. Foreign lights may not work properly with Australian power sockets and could malfunction.

Checking for damage: your annual Christmas light safety check

If your Christmas decorations have seen a few summers, check for damage before setting them up. Frayed wires, burn marks, loose or broken bulbs are all signs of defective equipment, which could pose a fire or electrical risk to your home.

Keep indoor Christmas lights indoors

When it comes to outdoor Christmas light safety, it’s important to pay attention to whether your lights are for indoor or outdoor use – there are some key differences.

An IP rating (e.g. IPX3, IP23) describes to what level the lights are waterproofed – the higher the better.

Indoor lights are often not weatherproof and are not safe to use outdoors. Rain may cause the fuses to blow, destroying your lights and creating a fire or electrical hazard.

Don’t overload your electrics with Christmas lights

The more lights the merrier, unless you overload your power sockets.

Avoid piggybacking powerboards and adaptors when plugging in your Christmas decorations. Powerboards aren’t designed to accommodate multiple adaptors. Overloaded electrical equipment can cause damage to your appliances or spark and cause a fire.

Should you switch off Christmas lights before bed?

Switching off lights overnight is an easy precaution to prevent electrical-related issues when you’re fast asleep.

Chances are, if you are going to bed, your neighbours will be as well, meaning any faults with your lights won’t be noticed until the next day. Meanwhile, faulty lights could damage property or cause injury during the night.

You’ll also save come time to pay your electricity bill!

Injured by dodgy Christmas lights? Get in touch

If you or someone close has been hurt by faulty Christmas lights purchased in Australia, Shine Lawyers' Product Liability experts can help you access the compensation you need to recover. If you were injured by lighting in the community, or visiting someone’s home, our Public Liability team can assist. You may also be entitled to benefits through your superannuation — we’ll explore all legal avenues for you.

Shine Lawyers offers a No Win No Fee Guarantee*, meaning you’ll only pay legal fees if your case is successful. Get in touch today for an obligation-free consultation.

*Conditions Apply

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: November 11, 2020.

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