Safer Babies has you covered with this list of practical ways to keep your little ones safe while decking the halls & celebrating:
Make sure your holiday decorations include items your child CAN touch & feel.
Place any decoration that would not be safe if used as a toy out of reach of the child.
Never leave your child alone in a room with lit candles. Don't leave lit candles near air vents, open windows, or ceiling fans, or on tablecloths or runners where they can get pulled down. Even better, consider using flameless candles.
Keep holiday plants at a safer distance from young children & pets. Eating holly or mistletoe berries can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and drowsiness. If eaten in sufficient amounts, severe symptoms can occur. Watch out for berries that fall to the floor. Poinsettia and Christmas tree needles may cause mouth/throat irritation, stomach upset, or irritate the skin if handled by children. So keep poinsettias at safe distance from young children, and vacuum tree needles regularly.
Spray snow is safe when it is dry. But it is an aerosol that contains chemicals that can irritate the lungs, nose, and eyes if inhaled when spraying. Tip: Follow directions and spray in well-ventilated areas; don’t spray near children.
Consider placemats rather than tablecloths. Tablecloths can get pulled leaving the hot, breakable or flammable contents of the table to fall.
Use a wide-based stand & secure your tree to the ceiling or wall with fishing line + an eye-hook.
Consider using non-breakable ornaments. Plastic, cloth, paper, felt & ribbon decorations are great alternatives to fragile glass & ceramic.
If you choose breakable ornaments, put them only on the upper branches of the tree, & attach them securely with florist wire. Use non-breakable ornaments on the lower branches.
To prevent burns, use LED lights that stay cool.
Replace ornament hooks with string or ribbon or florist wire.
Do not put any chemical preservatives into the tree water. They might be toxic if your child ingests some of the water.
Do not use tinsel. It is easy to swallow and causes intestinal blockage. And it can wind around baby's fingers, cutting off circulation. Also, certain brands contain lead.
If the above suggestions don't work: consider placing a play yard gate system around the tree during the hours your little one is awake.
Consider getting a tiny tabletop tree for your playroom, with kid-friendly ornaments, or hand made paper ornaments. Or use a paper or sticker material Christmas tree that can be affixed to the wall. Your child will fun decorating and redecorating throughout the season and will love having one tree that is their domain
Ribbons, gift wrap, packing material, and plastic wrapping pose choking, suffocation & fire dangers. Dispose of them as soon as they come off a gift.
Gift wrap may contain traces of lead. Prevent children from chewing on it.
Select toys to suit the age, abilities, and interest level of the child. Recommended age ranges are listed on the packages. Toys that are too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Children under the age of 3 cannot have parts less than 1.25 inches in diameter and 2.25 inches long, per government regulations.
Button batteries and magnets can be found in toys, musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids, and other small electronics. They pose danger to children and can result in serious stomach and intestinal problems, including death.
If a toy has a battery compartment that seems like it can be easily opened, you can tape over the area. If it still seems too accessible, consider keeping that toy away from your child until they are old enough to keep small items out of their mouth.
Small, powerful magnets are part of some building toy sets, many of which have been recalled.
Watch for strings and straps that are more than 12 inches in length, for example on pull toys. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies and small children.
Guests' purses and personal items may contain small items and medicines that are particularly dangerous for small children.
Designate a space & ask guests to put them out of reach.
Don't assume your child is supervised because she is sitting in the middle of a room full of people. Designate caregivers if you are running errands, cooking, or needing a break.
Keep party food and alcoholic drinks out of the child's reach. Remind guests to do the same.
If you visit another home, take a quick look around to identify hazards for your child. Bring toys from home so your child will have safe, appropriate toys to play with.
Be sure your child is properly secured at all times in the car - even when the kids are tired or cranky, even when the drive is very short, even when the drive is so long. Making exceptions to best car seat safety practices can lead to tragic severe injury during accidents. This applies to older children and adults too. For example: never tuck the cross body seat belt strap under the arm.