Baby Friendly Holidays

Oh to be a baby during Christmas! So many things to touch, to pull and to swallow.

Any mobile toddler with gumption will tackle the holiday season like a feast. Bows of holly, low-hanging mistletoe, ornaments, wreathes, candles, snow, bite-sized nativity figurines—every bit of beautiful decor that you’ve collected over the years has now become potential choking hazards for your little ones.

A friend of mine recently posted a photo on Facebook of a baby gate separating her youngest son from the decorated Christmas tree (at left). Little Staley had gotten a little too handsy with the sparkly lights and swaying tchotchkes. It’s a common problem for parents of youngsters, especially in Colorado where cold weather, slick sidewalks and roaring fireplaces add layers of danger to the season. So I thought a few tips for baby safety were in order. Or really, one big tip: The Rule of High and Low. Put anything that could be unsafe for your kiddos—anything they can fit in their mouths, anything they can pull on top of their heads, anything they can hurt themselves with—up high and out of reach. And find fun, kid-friendly decor that can serve as distractions for your young one.

Lacy Boggs, our Colorado Babies contributing editor, told me that a friend of hers buys a few little trees each year to decorate, as opposed to one big tree, and puts them on top of tables and mantles. It’s a nice way to keep your home looking festive and polished while also keeping things safe. If you do want a big, bushy tree, consider securing it to the wall, so it can’t be pulled over. Also, during dinners and parties, nix tablecloths and keep kids out of the kitchen. Burns are a big issue during the winter months. You may also want to buy a fireplace screen or gate; fireplace glass can get hot enough to send someone to the emergency room. I also love vinyl wall decals for the season.

On the low end, think about buying holiday-themed rugs or pillows. Crate and Barrel (pictured) and Pier One have gorgeous pillows! You can also find kid-friendly nativity scenes, like this Fisher-Price Little People Nativity Set, and Santa Claus, reindeer or snowmen stuffed toys. While poinsettas are not toxic, mistletoe is. If you want plants inside, think about going with silk. Avoid anything with small parts or pieces. Also, bunting is super popular these days. Use Pinterest to find a fun home project making holiday bunting, or just head to Etsy.

Now, you just need the smell of cookies wafting through your home, and you are all set.