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Your Guide to Foolproof Babyproofing for the Holidays

Your Guide to Foolproof Babyproofing for the Holidays

By Kristy Warren

You’ve spent the last nine months readying for your new bundle of joy, but is your holiday gathering ready, too? As baby grows, so does his or her curiosity and ability to explore—and with the holidays fast approaching, even more people and hazards are afoot. Make sure you're ready for a safe holiday celebration with these 10 babyproofing tips!

  1. Start early. Safety starts in the crib. Follow the ABCs of safe sleep: baby sleeps Alone on his or her Back in the Crib. While you may be tempted to decorate, avoid using pillows, bumpers, blankets, or stuffed animals in the crib and instead use a cozy sleep sack to keep baby comfortable in wintry weather. Make sure you use a crib with fixed rails. If using a family heirloom crib, buy an immobilizer to safely affix the rails. Test the width of the crib slats with a soda can—if the can slides between the slats, baby’s head could get stuck.

  2. See things from their POV. Time flies when you're having fun, and you’ll be surprised how soon your baby is on the move. Get down on your hands and knees to survey your home from baby’s point of view. What can you reach? What catches your eye? Pay special attention to cords, outlets, tippable furniture, water sources, and decorations, especially choking hazards like tinsel or breakable items like ornaments. Never leave a baby unattended near water, including toilets. Whether it’s outdoors or in the bathroom, any water source should be supervised and sealed off with a locking gate, lid, or door. 

  3. Tie it down and lock it up. Tie blinds or curtain cords well out of reach or install breakaway safety tassels to avoid choking hazards. Securely tie down holiday decorations, furniture, and electronics. Lock up toilet lids, cabinets, and drawers from prying fingers using childproof latches. 

  4. Mind your medications. Keep all prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements in upper, locked cabinets and dispose of expired or unwanted medications using a Deterra Drug Deactivation pouch or a drug takeback box, never the trash or toilet. To get a free Deterra pouch, visit the Laurel Health Center closest to you. To find a free takeback box near you, visit your local pharmacy or police station.

  5. Plug it up. Twinkling lights can draw the twinkle in your eye into harm's way. Keep Christmas tree lights well out of reach by setting up your tree in an area where baby can’t crawl. Use outlet covers to avoid accidental electric shocks from curious fingers, and install “babyproof” versions that require both hands or unscrewing to successfully remove, so that baby can’t tug them free. Where possible, consider moving furniture in front of outlets for extra protection.

  6. Change safely. Babies learn to turn over quickly, and if they attempt to roll while being changed, they can fall. To avoid falls, buckle your child in using the safety straps on your changing table. During the holidays, we're often on the move, so if you’re visiting company without a changing station, have all the items you need laid out before beginning. That way, you never have to turn your back.

  7. Play gatekeeper. If you can’t babyproof every room in your home, block your baby’s access using baby gates. Be sure to block staircases, ramps, or drop-offs. Be aware that as baby keeps growing, he or she can tackle these gates, so update your babyproofing as baby reaches new milestones like crawling and walking.

  8. Watch windows. In the middle of our holiday party, sometimes we need a little fresh air in a stuffy room, but don’t rely on regular screens to support baby’s weight if he or she leans on the open window. Look for window safety guards and screens labeled “babyproof” or “childproof” to prevent falls.

  9. Keep playtime safe. T’is the season of giving, but purchase age-appropriate toys that cannot be swallowed or pulled apart. Regularly inspect toys for any damage or loose parts, and don’t let baby play with older siblings’ toys. If using a toy box, choose one with a lightweight lid that slides or pops off. This will keep the lid from unexpectedly slamming down, trapping, or pinching your child.

  10. Involve the whole family. The holidays are a time for gathering. If baby will be spending time with relatives or babysitters, ensure they all understand how your babyproofing measures work and why it’s so important to follow them, especially keeping inappropriate toys or decorations out of baby’s reach and refastening baby-proof latches, covers, ties, and gates after accessing an off-limits item or area.

For more information on safety tips for the whole family, visit our Facebook at facebook.com/laurelhc.