‘Tis the season for decking the halls, stringing the lights, hanging the stockings and a plethora of activities that the holiday season brings. But, if you have babies or toddlers in your house, you’re in the midst of a whole different season, the Season of Child Proofing. And, it doesn’t start or stop with the month of December. So, how can you have a fun and festive holiday, and still keep your little ones safe and sound? We’ve got some child-proofing tips that are sure to keep the season happy and bright!
Go Faux: Yes, everyone loves the smell of a spruce pine and nothing says Christmas quite like a beautiful holly bush, a fresh garland or a live wreath. But, when you have toddlers and babies underfoot, faux is the way to go. Mistletoe, berries, garlands and other holiday plants can be toxic if ingested – and do you really trust a baby to NOT put something in her mouth? Switch to silk or synthetic, light a pine-scented candle and you’ll be set – sensible, seasonal and most of all, safe.
Unbreakable: Everyone has that special decoration that was a hand-me-down from a favorite relative, the Hummel figurine that you love, the beautiful yet breakable crystal or glass ornaments. Do yourself a favor and either don’t put those out this year, or else put them up very, very, VERY high. With babies and toddlers around, glass ornaments aren’t the best idea for a tree, and for those tabletop decorations, never underestimate the climbing power of a toddler.
A Merry Little Christmas: While there’s a lot to be said for the 10 foot spruce pine, you might want to explore the table-top tree while your children are young. First of all, you can baby-gate a table-top tree fairly easily. A floor-to-ceiling tree, while gated, still has tempting little branches that your little one may be able to grab. By using a smaller tree, you can also save the special ornaments for future years, and decorate using soft, child-proof ornaments. This also lets your child experience the decorations and festivities without everything being a “no touch.” If you can’t quite part with the big, beautiful tree, why not have it in a room that is completely off-limits to the little ones? Regardless of what tree you use, make sure it is anchored or bolted to the wall so that your child can’t pull it down.
Safety First: As you’ve realized by now, having children makes you think – and rethink – topics that you would have lightly considered in the past. For example, choosing “fire resistant” when you choose an artificial tree; making sure all the lights and bulbs are in good working condition with no broken parts or pieces, ensuring that wires and cords are out of reach and don’t have any loose or faulty connections – these are all things to consider when decorating a house with a child in it. Even roasting chestnuts on an open fire takes on a whole new meaning when you have a little one in the house. Be sure that your child is never left unattended around a Christmas tree or fire place. Be vigilant on sweeping and vacuuming your floor, keeping it free of ornament hooks, pine needles (real or fake), or any other decorative debris. Even wrapping paper and bows can prove unsafe, so leave putting out the packages and presents until the night before — after all, isn’t that what Santa would do?
The Social Season: December is a month for entertaining and being entertained. Watch out for items like hot plates on a buffet that are easy for little fingers to touch and beautiful tablecloths that are easy to pull down. Likewise, a holiday party is the perfect opportunity for partially-filled cups and even plates of food to be left within baby’s reach. The holidays are a time to be with your family, so if you are entertaining or attending functions as a family, just be mindful of all the new temptations that may arise.
You are in the holiday season, but you are also in the season when ribbons replace wire, felt trumps crystal and a construction paper chain wins out over a freshly cut string of garland. Your holiday decorations may be a little lumpier and bumpier, and everything pretty may be sectioned off with a baby gate. Entertaining may be sharing a glass of wine with your husband while sitting in your sweats on the sofa. It’s the season that you’re in – and don’t rush it. One day in the future, when you’re decorating with glass ornaments and lavish displays, you’re going to miss your table-top tree, baby-gated off and anchored with chicken wire to the wall – because that was when your babies were babies.
As legendary author Kurt Vonnegut said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
Enjoy the season! ~ The Baby Pibu™ Team