Boughs of holly and other perils of the holiday season
Sure, you’ve got the gates in place, the latches on, and you know all about stove safety. But the holidays are like the American Ninja Warrior of childproofing – there’s a new challenge at every turn. Here’s what to look out for and how to come out of 2017 with everyone intact.
- The tree. You already know the deal with watering properly, keeping it away from open flames, yada, yada. But we’re talking toddlers here. O Tannenbaum’s a tip-over risk, so either secure yours to a wall if possible, or keep out of reach from your kids with one of those safety gates.
- Ornaments. If they’re small, they’re a choking hazard. If they’re fragile, they can break – a bummer, yes, but also pose a risk of cuts or choking. Put them on the out-of-reach branches or, better yet, in storage until the kids are older. Or wrapping them around their necks. You get the picture. Keep them out of reach of your little one.
- Plants. A wives’ tale once had it that poinsettias were poisonous; they’re not (though a few ingested leaves can cause vomiting or a rash). But mistletoe, Amaryllis and holly are toxic, so be sure to keep those out of kids’ reach.
- Online shopping, and gifts from out-of-towners, means lots of boxes between now and Christmas. Be careful: those Styrofoam peanuts are the perfect size to block a child’s airway. Bubble wrap can be a choking hazard, too, if they want to try popping those cool-looking and sounding bubbles in their mouths.
- Another seasonal chocking risk that comes with the mail: button batteries. Yes, you know they’re in lots of toys. But they’re also in those cute cards that Grandma sends – the ones that play music. Be aware, and do not let your baby or toddler play with the musical cards.
- Entertaining this season? Watch out for those adults beverages, especially pretty colored drinks that look – and might even taste – especially yummy to little kids. Even just a few ounces of alcohol can be fatal to a toddler. Keep a careful eye on any glasses left unattended and make sure you clean up the party’s aftermath promptly, lest your early-rising tot finds an interesting assortment of non-empties the next morning.
- Food. Hors d’oeuvres, candies, and other food items intended for adults can make their way into a toddler’s mouth and might cause them to choke. Try to keep them out of reach. Consider a whole separate kid-friendly food and beverage area to keep little ones away from the grown-up hazards.
- The guests. Nah, not the grouch who frowns at anyone still in diapers. We really mean the guests’ purses. Make sure they’re out of reach, because you don’t want your toddler going to town in one. Who knows what they will find.