Deck the Halls: What You Need to Know About Baby Safety and Holiday Decorations
By Kathryn Trudeau
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: decked-out trees, shiny garland, holiday wreaths, and Grandma’s family heirloom nativity set. To us, it looks perfect. But to a baby? It looks like a winter wonderland, ready to explore!
You don’t have to give up on your dreams of a Christmas bonanza, but you can keep baby safe during the holidays with these baby safety tips.
The Tree Itself
When you’re ready to babyproof your decorations, you first have to tackle the tree. It’s pokey, it can come crashing down, and it can even be a fire hazard. So how do you make the tree safer?
First, let’s decide what type of tree you have: real or artificial.
A real tree
Choose as fresh of a tree as you can. You may even see some sap on the truck; this is a good thing because it means your tree hasn’t been sitting there drying out for ages. To prevent your tree from becoming too try, keep it watered (as per the instructions on your tree) and avoid keeping your lights turned on 24/7. And never, never put real candles on a Christmas tree.
An artificial tree
When you choose an artificial tree, there is no shortage of options but make sure that you choose a “fire resistant” tree.
Regardless of what type of tree you have, follow these tips:
- Mount your tree properly on a sturdy tree stand
- If possible, place the tree against a wall and then use a baby gate to cordon off the tree. You might even some some iron fireplace safety gates that are more aesthetically pleasing when placed next to the tree. (However, any gate is better than no gate, so use what you have!)
- Use LED lights because they are cooler and won’t get as hot
- Do not overload the outlet
- Use a powerstrip that has a surge protector
Ornaments, Candy Cane, and Popcorn Strings
Now that we’ve established a few safety rules for the tree, let’s talk about ornaments! What’s a Christmas tree without ornaments?
Keep your tree pretty (and your sanity intact) with these tips:
- Use only non-glass ornaments.
- If you do have any breakable ornaments, keep them on the top part of the tree and very firmly affixed to the branch.
- Although they look nice, candy canes and popcorn strings are tempting for kids and they are choking hazards. It’s best to skip these for now.
- Keep an eye on the hooks: Those little ornament hooks can be sharp, and if you drop them, they are hard to spot on the carpet.
Do you babies and toddlers have really curious minds? Try a table-top tree for this year!
Fires, Fireplaces, and Baking Cookies
It may be cold outside, but it’s sure toasty inside! Between fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, holiday-scented candles, and hot ovens, there are a lot of heat sources during this time year.
Stay safe with these tips:
- Always keep a gate in front of the fireplace
- Do not allow your child to play near the fireplace even when it is cool
- Keep candles out of reach of babies, away from wreathes, ribbons, and other decorations
- It’s tempting to let baby nibble on a Christmas cookie, but be sure to read the ingredient list first. No honey before the age of one!
The fun thing about decorating for Christmas is that you can decorate your whole house - not just the tree.
Keep accidents at bay with these tips:
- Avoid long table runners as baby can pull these down and cause the contents of the table to come crashing down
- Glass nativity sets should be out of reach of baby
- Bowls of hard candy, hard pepperminds etc should be out of reach
- Garland and tinsel and ribbons should be securely attached so that baby can’t tangle himself up in ribbons
Presents and Gifts, Oh My!
What’s more exciting than a pile of neatly wrapped presents under the tree! This is one of the most exciting things to any child, but if to baby or a toddler, it’s extra exciting. You can keep your baby safe by keeping presents behind the baby gate. Not only will it protect your baby from getting tangled in the ribbons, but it will also prevent premature opening of the presents!
Don’t forget to continue to think “safety first” even when you start to buy presents:
- Don’t leave extra batteries laying around as batteries (especially watch batteries) are extremely dangerous if swallowed
- Did you assemble a few toys? Put your tools back immediately so they’re not laying out!
What about you?
How do you keep your decorations safe during the holidays?
Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at www.katietrudeau.com
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