By Lauren Jimeson, DisneyBaby.com
The holiday season is in full swing, and while I love this time of year, it also makes me extremely nervous for a number of reasons. This is our first year spending the holidays in a house rather than a small apartment. I've dreamt of the decorations that will fill the house and the tree that will glow in the corner of our living room. But while it's fun to dream, I know that I also need to face reality. Holiday decor and children can be an unsafe combination.
Now that Macks is into everything in our house, I can only imagine that it will get worse once we have more decor indoors. Keeping him safe is my top priority, so I went to the expert to see how I can keep our home safe this holiday season. Since having a home during the holidays is new to us, I asked Kimberlee Mitchell, Child Safety Expert & Founder of Boo Boo Busters, for her tips on how to baby proof our home for the holiday season. She gave me some great tips and I wanted to share them with you so that you, too, can have a safe home for the holidays.
1. Remember, They Have All Eyes on You - It's fun to get the kids involved in decorating, but we should be mindful of climbing up onto counters, chairs, ladders, out windows, and other things that are somewhat dangerous. Our children are quick studies of our actions, so we need to be sure that we are making safe choices. It's best to do to real dangerous work while the kids are sleeping. It'll be more magical for them to wake up to see it all transformed anyway! Do not leave the ladders, staple guns, or tools around and accessible. If you stand on the kitchen table to hang decor, don't be surprised to soon see your toddler on the kitchen table as well. If you hold nails or screws in your mouth while working, guess who will aim to do the same? It's always a good idea to be mindful of what we are doing around our children to make sure that it's safe for everyone in the family.
2. Use Just Wrapping Paper - When wrapping gifts, just use wrap. Stay away from decorating the gift wrap with bows and ribbon that could pose a strangulation hazard, any type of tape that they could ingest and choke upon. Don't decorate the gifts with ornaments; your child will have access to that and if they are glass, they could break and choke. It's just not safe. Perhaps wrap everything in paper, and then when it's time to hand out to family, have a bag of bows handy and slap a bow on it!
3. Think "Less is More" with Decor - When you have a baby crawling around and/or learning to walk, just as Macks is, less is more when it comes to decorations. Mitchell found that when her kids were little, pulling out 1/3 of the decor was less pressure on her both for set-up and take down, plus it made navigating the baby away far easier. Pick your favorite decor and display it out of reach, but consider forgoing the small glass figurines that are breakable and a magnet for a baby. Clutter will lead to chaos. Less decor will translate to less stress and allow for you to relax and enjoy far more this holiday season.
4. Opt for a Mini Tree - There's no escaping it: Babies make a beeline for Christmas trees. To make for a stress-free holiday season and a "No No"-free environment, opt for a mini tree(s) this year and display it on a tabletop or counter. Get that gorgeous mini Douglas fir or flocked tree you've been wanting for years and then decorate it with your favorite ornaments. Or splurge and create a tree in the new color scheme you see in all the magazines - it's small, so it won't be that pricey! Keep the others packed away this year and enjoy the simplicity.
5. Consider Your Gates/Barriers - Work with the existing babyproofing you have already installed in your home during the holidays. If you have gates installed, display decor on the other side of the gate. You might have to reposition a few things this year, but it will allow you to decorate without worry.
6. Beware of Candles - Candles are often used to make the home smell wonderful; however when there are little ones around, it makes sense to skip them or only burn them when the baby is down.
7. Enjoy Your Peace of Mind - Childproofing our home will give us so much peace of mind throughout the holiday season and year 'round. When our family or friends' kids come over, we can feel that confidence, as will our guests, and it makes relaxing so much easier. Sure, it might take some time to see exactly what you need and it could cost more than you intended initially; however, it pays precious dividends day after day, and year after year, as you are able to enjoy knowing you've covered your bases and have left no safety stone unturned!
After speaking with Kimberlee Mitchell, I now feel so much more prepared for the holidays. This is a special time of year for everyone in the family, especially Macks, because it's his first time celebrating the season. With these tips, I can enjoy the season knowing it will be a safe one.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!