For many families, celebrating the holidays means decorating to the max and getting together with relatives and friends. From tree-trimming to hanging garlands, candle-lighting to gift- giving, the festive tasks and events of the season require a little more thought and care when there are babies and young children involved. To keep all family members safe as well as merry, check out these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Avoid Flame Hazards
You're probably taking precautions already when it comes to fire. But with a little one in the house, some double- or triple-checking is a good idea. Use these tips:
- If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure it’s designated as fire-resistant.
- Set up any trees or decorations away from fireplaces, radiators, and portable heaters. Don’t block doorways either!
- Turn off the lights when you go to bed to prevent a short, which could cause a fire.
- Use non-flammable or flame-resistant decorations on a tree.
- Make sure any wrapping paper and other materials are stored away from fireplaces.
- Before lighting a fire, make sure the fireplace flue is open.
Choose Child-Safe Decorations
Babies and small children are eager to explore and touch (and sometimes eat) anything and everything. Follow these suggestions to eliminate hazards and accidents:
- Check the wiring of any lights you put up, even new ones, for frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections.
- Place candles or anything that could potentially cause harm away from surface edges or slick surfaces so they don’t fall off.
- If you have a live tree, make sure it stays fresh (cut a little from the bottom of the trunk and keep the reservoir in the stand full) so needles don’t fall off and get eaten.
- Don't use fake snow — whether it’s the cellophane strands or powder — as it could be ingested by a child.
Give Age-Appropriate Gifts
We’ve all seen the warnings on the boxes. They’re there for a good reason! Even if a toy might fine if used “as directed,” it might pose a hazard to younger children — who don’t always play with toys as directed. Here are some things to look out for:
- Make sure that any toy you buy is not too advanced for the child receiving it.
- Fight the urge to let your child play with the toy immediately upon opening the gift. Always read the instructions first.
- Gifts that must be plugged in to work should be reserved for older children.
- Avoid toys that have long cords or strings or that have removable small parts.
Having a little one, of course, is the best gift and the greatest cause for celebration. With these tips in mind, you'll enjoy a safe — and gorgeous! — holiday season.