This is the time of year when company is coming and going, new decorations are out in full view and you might be visiting relatives. To your toddler, this is extremely exciting, and her curiosity is probably piqued. While you know what she tends to get into at your home on a normal day, you might be surprised at all of the dangers that are suddenly quite literally at her fingertips. Here are some things to keep in mind this holiday season as you strive to keep your toddler safe:
- If you are hosting visitors, remind them to keep their toiletries, medications and vitamins out of the reach of your child. If Grandma is leaving her pill box on the bathroom counter, this could spell out tragedy for your little one! While your toddler might not be intrigued by the deodorant and toothpaste in the medicine cabinet of your master bathroom, he might be very interested in the lotions and potions in the toiletry bags of your guests. Very little children don’t know that it’s rude to snoop, so provide your guests with a place to keep their personal items that will be out of your child’s reach.
- When hosting or attending parties, make sure that alcoholic beverages are kept up high, away from where your toddler can reach them. Small children don’t care about germs and, if thirsty, will just help themselves without concern for whose cup they’re taking or what the contents are. The same goes for bowls of nuts or hard candy. These are choking hazards, but are very appealing to toddlers. Ask the hostess if you can put the bowls up high if you aren’t able to watch your child every minute.
- Watch out for candles. Flickering flames are mesmerizing to little ones, and you don’t want any burns or house fires! Flameless candles are a safer option, but if you are using real candles, keep them away from the edges of countertops or tables, and watch your child carefully.
- Keep a close eye on your Christmas tree. When our children were little, we gave up on having glass ornaments; it wasn’t worth the risk that they’d shatter and cut little hands or feet. Put only unbreakable ornaments on the tree, at least on the branches which are at toddler-level. Use the strings to hang them instead of wire hangers, which can be played with or even choked on. If your toddler is really adventurous, you may need to get a small tree and put it up on a table, or use a few baby gates to block your child’s access to the tree.
- If your child has any allergies or dietary restrictions, be sure to let people know when you attend gatherings. As the parent of a shellfish-allergic child, I always had to be very careful at holiday gatherings. All it would take is one person handing my child a shrimp off of a cocktail ring, and it would be an emergency room visit for sure!
- Avoid keeping poisonous plants in your house. Some popular plants and flowers that are used as decorations this time of year, including poinsettia, mistletoe and holly, are toxic if ingested.
All in all, watching your child carefully is the best way to keep him safe this holiday season. Since no parent can keep an eye on a child every minute, though, try to toddlerproof as much as possible, both at your own home and when visiting others.
What other types of toddlerproofing have you found helpful during this time of year?