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How to Baby Proof Your Home for the Holidays

christmas-baby

Check out these simple holiday safety tips for baby proofing your home, including how to decorate and choose age-appropriate toys.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas …

Make It Festive. Trees, garlands, menorahs, lights — so many colorful, shiny things for a baby to explore! You don’t have to put a hold on holiday decorations; just take a little extra care.

Keep It Safe:

  • When choosing a live tree, find the freshest, greenest one possible (that sticky resin on the trunk is actually a good thing) and don’t forget the tap test — if the tree loses lots of needles when tapped on the ground, move on.
  • Check all lights, whether they’re used indoors or outside, to ensure they’re in good working order with no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Secure the tree to the wall if possible.
  • For decorations, stick to flame-resistant, nonbreakable ornaments.
  • Be vigilant when baby is near the tree; never leave him or her unattended.
  • Sweep the floor regularly to pick up tree needles, ornament hooks or anything else a baby shouldn’t put in their mouth.
  • Keep the fire in the fireplace: Turn off all decorative holiday lights, including electric candles and menorahs, before you leave the house or go to bed.

Hassle-Free Holiday. Why not try a tabletop tree? It’ll be out of reach of exploring hands, and it’s much simpler to put up and take down.

All I Want for Christmas Is …

Make It Fun. It’s better to give than receive — except for baby, who’ll be getting a gazillion toys, some of which may not be appropriate. Give a little guidance to friends and family to ensure their gifts are fun and safe.

Keep It Safe:

  • Tactfully steer gift-givers to toys geared to your baby’s age. Create a wish list so you can identify specific items that are a good match for your child.
  • Give dreidels to older children, not babies or toddlers.
  • When opening gifts, immediately discard paper, ribbons, bows, bags and packing material.
  • Read the instructions for toys and games carefully and inspect them for loose or broken parts and sharp edges; store any that aren’t baby-friendly out of reach.
  • Try out ride-on or push toys indoors in a safe space, such as a carpeted area.

Hassle-Free Holiday. Chances are your baby will receive plenty of gifts from relatives and friends, so consider a special family outing or mommy-and-me day: a free — and memorable — present.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire …

Make It Tasty. Cookies baking in the oven … holiday goodies are fun to make and eat, even for a baby — just don’t overdo it.

Keep It Safe:

  • Watch for potential choking hazards, especially hard or round treats like candy, nuts and crudités, as well as alcoholic beverages that could be mistaken for milk or fruit juice.
  • Keep a lookout for things that are easily pulled or knocked over, such as tablecloths and runners, hot liquids and platters at the edges of counters and tables.
  • While it’s fine to let a baby who’s eating solids try a new treat, it’s best to stick to their regular diet and feeding routine. Holiday foods that are rich or have an abundance of unusual ingredients are best for school-age or older children.
  • Make sure any foods meant for children under 4 are cut into bite-size pieces.

Hassle-Free Holiday. Consider handing over the hosting duties this year. Let someone else do the cooking and clean-up, leaving you free to mingle with your new baby and bask in all the attention he/she — and you — are sure to receive.

Holiday Helpers

Enjoy all that holiday togetherness — parties, dinners, cocktail hours — with these stay-safe tips for new parents:

  • Your childhood home may no longer be childproofed — inspect your temporary digs (hotel rooms too!) for anything baby-unfriendly.
  • If traveling for the holidays, stick to baby’s routine as much as possible.
  • Give older children a baby-free zone where they can open presents and play with toys not safe for the little ones.
  • At parties, play it safe by putting your baby in a play yard, buckling them into a bouncy seat on the floor, or toting them around in a carrier to help avoid temptations.

Happy Holidays!

Information by Judith Palfrey, M.D. from Parenting.com.