Parenting and raising children is a challenging and rewarding undertaking. From the first trip home from the hospital to baby's first day of school, there are so many dangers to avoid, risks to minimize, and well, things to worry about!
Before diving into festivities this holiday season, refresh your knowledge on ten holiday-related dangers to infants and toddlers that can be minimized with a little foresight and planning.
1. Food Allergies
Visiting Grandma's house, shopping at the mall, and family outings usually involve food, snacks, or treats of some sort. While you have control of the food in your own home, when you're out and about watch out for foods that may trigger an allergy in your infant or toddler. If your child already has an allergy that you're aware of, make sure to share that information when you go to a new house or leave little ones with family or friends.
2. Lights, Outlets & Extension Cords
Tis' the season to be merry and bright but use caution when stringing up your favorite set of twinkle lights: little eyes are watching and bright lights are tempting for toddlers and infants alike.
Teach toddlers to stay away from cords and plug-ins, and make things as safe as possible when you can by keeping cords and lights out of reach.
✔︎ If you have a crawling or walking baby in your house, keep an eye out when they're around lights or outlets. Bonus points for using outlet covers wherever possible!
3. That Dazzling Tree
Your Christmas tree is probably the centerpiece holiday decoration in your home and is likely the main attraction for children as well.
It's never too early to start teaching children how to behave carefully around a Christmas tree, but be prepared to watch your tree carefully.
✔︎ Watch your tree when children are around and be strategic when decorating while you have little ones in the house.
Want to make sure your safety knowledge and practices are on point? Download our FREE Newborn Visual Safety Cheat Sheet!
4. Small Parts
Presents, an important source of Christmas joy for children, are also a source of danger at times. If you have a wide-range of ages in your household, likely many Christmas gifts that are unwrapped and strewn around the house on Christmas Day will contain small parts that are easily ingested by infants and toddlers.
✔︎ If a toy has small parts, make sure that those parts stay up high and out of reach. Let bigger kids gather their gifts on a table or in a separate room or keep your little one nearby while dangerous toys are easily accessible.
5. Ice & Snow
If you decide to leave the house with an infant in tow or a toddler following behind you, watch out for icy patches and snow on the way to your car. Falling on the ice is scary, but the same type of fall is even scarier if you're holding a precious infant or if your independent toddler falls or slips trying to manage on their own.
✔︎ Check the path to the car before you venture out and take your time on your way to the car to make sure that you get there in one piece.
6. Winter Coats
Most parents are aware that it is dangerous to buckle a child into a car seat while wearing a big winter jacket: the big coat means that the buckle is not snug, and even a small accident can jolt your child out of the car seat.
✔︎ It's a hassle, but you can avoid the risk by forgoing a large winter coat in favor of a light fleece jacket plus a blanket over the seat, or by warming the car up before you hop in so you can take the coat off before you drive.
Ah, yes. Ornaments get a mention all of their own for so many reasons: ornaments often have small parts and pose a choking risk, many are breakable and shatter everywhere when they break, and plastic ornaments that fall harmlessly and are left could be tripped-on by little feet.
✔︎ Check your tree often for fallen or missing ornaments, keep glass ornaments out of reach of your little ones, and watch for stray ornament hooks that always appear to multiply as soon as they hit the floor.
Christmas parties and holiday events usually involve adult drinks in some form or other. It's always a good idea to be sure of the whereabouts of your children, but it's especially when adult drinks are present, to avoid accidental ingestion.
Most parents and childcare providers know that toddlers are practically professionals at finding food and drinks when grown-up heads are turned for less than a second. While most incidents are laugh-worthy, accidental ingestion of alcohol is always best to avoid.
Families venture out more in December to see sights, shop for gifts, and visit family and friends. More frequent outings, especially to crowded shopping centers and events, increases the risk of losing your child while out.
✔︎ Don't overstress, just consistently do a headcount and make sure that children stay nearby. Staying aware of the risk and remaining diligent at each destination is the best plan to avoid any danger on this front.
While you may be in the sharing mindset this season, some things are better kept to ourselves, like coughs, sniffles, and other seasonal sicknesses, namely the flu.
✔︎ Before you head out, fill your bag with your go-to illness busters (think hand-sanitizer, essential oils, tissues, and cough drops) and remember to wash hands often and you'll be good to go!