3 Ways to Baby Proof for the Holidays

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Well, for many new parents it can be a little nerve-wracking with all the blocking and tackling to make sure the kiddo isn't scaling the tree while Fido scarfs on some mistletoe.  Sound familiar?   

Here are 3 ways to baby proof for the holidays this season including lots of tips to keep the entire family (and your pets) safe.

The Tree

Ornaments on the Christmas tree can be dangerous for small children.

Whether you have a Christmas Tree or Hanukkah Bush glimmering in your home, the outcome is the same: You will be doing a solid month of ninja moves to keep your kid from taking down the tree.  That's cause you couldn't create a more effective, "Please come play with me!" object in the World for your tiny tot. It seriously checks all the special interest boxes for kiddos: 

Sparkly lights? Check. Delicate breakables? Check. Beacon of presents? Check. Large unstable, tippable TREE? Check. That tree becomes a total attention hog for your tot. 

Here how to decorate your tree while keeping everyone safe.  

  1. Use LED plastic lights rather than the thin, easily breakable glass lights to decorate the tree. 
  2. Place breakable ornaments higher than your child's reach on the top branches of the tree and make sure there are no chairs or climbable objects near the tree.  
  3. Cap any exposed tree light outlets with an electrical outlet cap. 
  4. Unplug the tree every night and when not in use to save energy and not worry about anything catching fire. Ugh. 
  5. If your kiddo is not respecting the personal space thing with the tree, you can block access with an extra-wide baby gate or extended superyard. I know it ain't fun but neither is yelling, "Timber!"  
  6. Want to skip the tree drama altogether? Many parents are adopting the 2D Tree which you can do with vinyl decals, felt or/and a string of lights.

Baby Proofing Tip: Don't put a small tree on a table top or furniture even if there is only a 0.0001% chance of your child maneuvering to reach it. Why? It's a major tipping hazard and encourages your child to climb furniture. 

The Pretty Flowers

Poinsettia flowers can be harmful to small children if swallowed.

Until I had a kiddo, I had no clue that some common holiday flora can be a big no-no for your family (including your pets!). Enter the poisonous plants. These bad boys are beautiful and decorative but with their brightly colored leaves, petals or berries, they are very inviting to little tots. In fact, the majority of poison control cases each holiday season are due to kiddos having a not so healthy snack on these guys.

Here are the biggest offenders:

  1. Poinsettia - Those big, bright red leaves are Mother Nature's way of saying, "Slow your roll, if you eat me, you will not be happy!"  You may be surprised to know that Poinsettia is actually not as toxic as you have heard and has accounted for only 1 infant death way back in 1919. But, this bad boy can cause nausea and vomiting if swallowed and who wants that? So keep this pretty plant out of the house this season. 
  2. Holly Berries - These pretty little shrubs have tiny red berries that contain a poison called saponin.  Similar to poinsettia, swallowing these little guys causes vomiting and other nasty business. A tot only needs to swallow 5 berries to see symptoms. 
  3. Mistletoe - Do you really need an excuse to kiss your cuties (big and small?). The mistletoe plant comes in two forms: American and European and has green leaves and small white or translucent berries.  The entire plant is toxic on the American variety, but the good news is it is less toxic than its cousin across the pond, European Mistletoe.  Of interest is that the European Mistletoe is starting to show up in the US, particularly California. Both varieties can cause tummy issues, but European Mistletoe can cause internal organ and nervous system damage. Pass.

The Presents

Oh, the presents! Bet-cha your kiddos are a tad bit interested in those!?! Shocking.  Whether you have a little baby or a little toddler make sure you keep those gifts safe by following the small parts rule: if it's smaller than the diameter of a quarter and shorter than 2.25 inches, it can be a choking hazard.  The toy industry and juvenile products industry strictly enforces "small parts" warnings for any product for children under 3 years old that can be small enough to block an air passageway.  You can find the warning on the side of packaging. 

Small parts warning labeling for product packaging.

But it's not only little tiny gifties you should look out for, some small parts happen after a piece breaks off from a larger toy and then creates a small part.  The holidays are always a great time to brush-up on small parts safety.  You can read up about it in this post which includes a DIY small parts tester that takes 30 seconds to make and gives you incredible peace of mind! 


OK Folks, that's a wrap! See what I did there?  I hope you found some of these tips helpful enough to replace some holiday safety worry with some big time holiday cheer! Remember, your adult supervision is always the best safety approach.  

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