With the holidays just around the corner, you may be busy getting all of your ducks in a row. There are cookies to bake, presents to wrap and carols to sing.
While many of these holiday traditions are perfectly safe for family members of all ages, others can be dangerous-or even deadly-to very young children. If you’re hosting Christmas with a new baby in attendance, here are some steps you should take to make the holiday safe for the youngest member of the family:
Christmas decorations are festive, shiny and bright-all of which attract the attention of curious babies. Tree ornaments made or glass or other fragile materials can lead to devastating consequences if left within reach of a baby. If a baby puts such an ornament in their mouth, it could lead to severe lacerations of the lips and tongue. In addition, string lights pose safety threats to babies. If the cord wraps around a baby’s neck, it could strangle them. The attractive, colorful light bulbs are also easy for babies to pick off the string and swallow. Thoughtfully decorate your Christmas tree to accommodate babies by hanging glass ornaments at the top of the tree and blocking off the area around the tree-so that the baby can’t access it.
Most children’s toys are labeled with the appropriate age range for use. However, even some baby-appropriate gifts can have hidden hazards. For instance, battery-powered baby toys often include separate disc batteries in the package. These can be easy to miss when you first open the package, but if the box is left unattended on the floor and your baby finds them, they could easily be swallowed, causing serious harm to the esophagus. In addition, if older children are present at Christmas, make sure their toys are not left out-within reach of a baby. They may contain sharp edges or small parts that could lead to an accident.
There’s nothing inherently dangerous about hanging Christmas stockings from your mantel. However, if there’s a baby on site, do not attach them to the mantel using metal stocking holders. If a baby is able to grasp a dangling stocking and pull it down, this dense, metal holder is bound to come down with it-which can inflict a concussion or other serious head injuries on your baby.
Don’t let your holiday celebration end in a disastrous accident. Follow the above guidelines to help keep your family safe.