'Tis the season to avoid holiday decoration dangers

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NEW YORK (CBS) For many, the holiday season is truly the most wonderful time of the year. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns wonderful doesn't mean worry-free.

"Last year, there were... approximately 240 visits to emergency rooms, every day, during the holiday season," said Ann Marie Buerkle, the acting chair of the CPSC.

The agency is warning consumers to be vigilant when decorating their homes. This year, the CPSC estimates there will be 1,300 fires related to Christmas trees and candles. Those fires will lead to 150 emergency room visits and 20 deaths.

"We're all in a hurry to get our trees up because it's such a pretty event, but to take a few minutes to inspect your lights," Buerkle urged.

Experts say you should discard any light strands with broken bulbs or frayed wires. The packaging should indicate they're UL certified. And if you've upgraded to newer technology, don't be complacent.

"LED lights require less of a current so they don't generally don't get as hot as an ordinary light, but they do pose the same hazard in terms of the wires getting frayed and the bulbs being broken," Buerkle said.

Real trees should be watered regularly to prevent fires.

"It's a wonderful time of the year. We all enjoy it. But take a few extra minutes to be safe," Buerkle said.

And one last piece of advice applies to any season: Make sure smoke alarms are in place on every floor and make sure they're working.