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Decking Out, Baby-Proof Style

Decking Out, Baby-Proof Style

With the Holiday season approaching, we are digging in the garage and basement for those Holiday decorations. Kids love this special time of year, especially with all of the festive knick knacks and change of scenery inside the home with fun decorating. Of course, all those new, interesting, often-times shiny and attention grabbing decor can be irresistible for babies and young kids. Here are ten tips to making sure you are covering your bases and helping to keep your family safe while decking out!

1. What are your decorations made of?

Hopefully they are kid-safe materials like cottons, plastics, etc that are soft and resistant to breaking. Maybe you have some hand-me down decor from Grandma that might be a little fancier and meant for an environment where little hands aren't reaching for everything. If you have some of those, make sure they are high up, preferably not on top of a hutch or other heavy piece of furniture where they could be knocked down. It might be best to save those kinds of things for when the kids are a little older.

2. How heavy are your decorations?

The heavier they are, the more damage they can do if they fall on top of someone, especially if that someone is smaller than you. Try and find cute decorations that are lightweight and won't do too much damage in the case of an accident.

3. Where are your decorations?

During Christmas, some people decorate the tree just higher than their little one can reach.  Some people only put child friendly, cheaper decorations on the lower branches.  However you decide, it's important to be mindful of where your decor is in relation to where your child is, and is capable of traveling.

4. What are your decorations near?

Because Holiday decorations are temporary, sometimes we put things in places where we normally wouldn't have anything.  Remember this for things like the Christmas tree, which can be a hazard if it is placed too close to heaters, fireplaces, and candles.

5. Keep kids at safe distances and doing safe tasks during fun family activities like holiday baking.

Cookies are so much fun to make and decorate together. Just make sure all pot handles stay over the stove, and that kids stay away from an open oven door or a hot stove. It's best to have the kids stick with activities like spreading the frosting on the cookies, or mixing the batter. When it comes to the actual cooking, the adult should take over.

6. Be mindful of choking hazards.

During the Holidays, these things can include styrofoam packing, hard candies (even ones you may use to decorate cookies can be a hazard, so keep those things in mind), little pieces of toys for older brother or sister, nerf darts, pieces of games that may go astray like marbles and tiny space markers. During the holidays, special traditions and things out of the ordinary routine can certainly be enjoyed, but keep safety in mind when participating. Ask yourself if things are appropriate for the youngest person in your house. Sometimes, we have older children that would enjoy something, but the younger children may not understand yet.  Keep the youngest person in your house in mind and realize if you get your older child those little Legos or other games with small pieces, it will be posing a threat to your youngest child.

7. Set rules and boundaries for older children so that they know the danger of playing with certain things.

As you involve more people in the house, the more eyes you will have watching for dangers. My older kids help me recognize if my youngest is getting into something that could be dangerous for her. I'm always happy to have the extra help.

8. Stay on top of children's activities during parties and family get-togethers.

Devastating things can happen which can include drownings, big accidents, and even abuse. If all the kids are playing in an isolated room, have them keep the doors open, check on them periodically, and show people that even though you are at a party and enjoying yourself, that you are still aware of where your children are, what they're doing, and who they're with.

9. Have fun!

These are times that your children will remember for decades to come. Following through and starting new traditions are part of what make the holidays so magical. As you plan for these things and keep the safety of your children in mind, it will be lower stress and more enjoyable for everyone!

Have you been successful in decorating for younger age groups?  Have you modified any traditions to fit your family's needs?  What are some of your favorite traditions that the kids love?  We want to hear! Let us know in the comments so that we can help each other get new ideas this coming Holiday season!

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