In a Southend News Network EXCLUSIVE, we can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that local health and safety chiefs have seen an urgent message to all local schools warning them about the dangers of putting up Christmas trees that are TOO POINTY and DANGEROUS. With the festive season well and truly upon us, this has left many schools confused about the type of tree that they will be allowed to put on display and decorate.
The email that has been shown to our reporting team makes it very clear that any schools using traditional Christmas trees this year could leave themselves open to costly legal proceedings – whether or not a child walks into one and injures themselves. According to official statistics, in Essex there were 32,452 child injuries caused by Christmas trees and decorations in 2014, and they were as follows:
- 58% – Jumping into a Christmas tree head first to ‘try and find Santa and his elves’
- 16% – Getting blinded by light reflecting off a piece of tinsel
- 16% – Swallowing baubles / mistaking for festive apples
- 10% – Deep cuts when opening an advent calendar
Once our investigation had begun, we received a lengthy response from county health and safety chiefs, and here is a summary of the 42-page document:
We are incredibly concerned that parents will think that we are trying to ‘ban Christmas’ in local schools – this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our main concern is that schools will not be displaying trees and decorations responsibly, and we would like to remind headteachers that rubber tree branch plugs can be ordered through the local education authority to ensure that the tree can remain safe. If baubles must be used, it is vital that specially-adapted baubles are fitted that are designed to disintegrate instantly when they are touched, or alternatively grapefruit-sized tree decoration spheres are available from most supermarkets. If classes insist on having advent calendars this year, we would strongly recommend that voice-activated door openings are used to avoid cuts. Finally, with so many children being blinded by light reflecting from tinsel in 2014, we are delighted to announce that we now have limited supplies of matt/lustre tinsel for use by local schools, and this is available in black only.
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