Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Decorating: Safety Tips with Little Ones in Mind

For those with children around during the holidays, there are many possible hazards contained in a single home.  From holiday decor to festive plants to those beautiful yet breakable ornamental pieces, there are opportunities for accidents lurking around every corner.  But do not dismay, the holidays can still be full of festive décor without putting your children at risk.  With little ones in our home, it is a necessity to take every precaution while decorating for the holidays.  Below are a few safety reminders when preparing your home for the holidays:
  • Christmas trees can be dangerous to children who put items in their mouth.  One option is to set up a children’s safety gate around your tree to keep those little ones away from danger.  Another option is if you have a live tree, cut back low hanging branches just enough for an infant’s arm’s reach.  If you have an artificial tree like we do in our home, I suggest folding any low lying branches up away from a tiny, reaching hand.
  • Christmas trees can also be dangerous if not sturdy.  We put sand bags all around the base of our tree’s trunk to better secure it.  This doesn’t mean it isn’t still possible for a three year old to pull it over.  Always supervise with children in the room.
  • Whether your tree is real or artificial, be sure to keep any pine needles off your floor.  In our home, vacuuming around the tree is adequate from keeping the needles out of a curious mouth.
  • Beware of breakable tree ornaments.  Although beautiful, there are a multitude of other options to choose from when decorating your tree.  One option is to choose ornaments made of wood with either a non-toxic stain or paint.  Not only is this safer for your children but will also make for a uniquely decorated tree.
  • Tree lights are a staple in most holiday decorative homes but they can be dangerous for children who want to play with them.  I suggest hanging lights towards the tree trunk instead of towards the end of the tree’s branches.  This will keep hands away.  You could also skip lights altogether and choose instead to create popcorn or cranberry strings.  Not only would this be a safer option, it would be beautiful and a fun and creative way for the family to spend quality time together!
  • Decorative plants such as poinsettias add beautifully to your home during the holidays.  If you choose to get one, be sure to keep it high enough away from a child’s reach.
  • Don’t forget that while many older children may be opening up presents with delight, many of those gifts may contain small parts that are choking hazards to younger children.  Try to keep a keen eye on anything in your children’s environment that could be a danger.
  •  And last, but not least, although your grandmother’s eggnog recipe may be a tasty treat for you and your guests, not all eggnog is meant for children.  I suggest including a non-alcoholic version so all can enjoy.
Although with children your holiday preparation may be different than in previous years, they are no less fun.  There is truly nothing better than a holiday celebration full of children’s laughter and good cheer!

Happy holidays!

Mommy Bridget

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