LOGO 2019
Asian family decorating for Christmas with their baby daughter

Are Your Holidays Ready for Baby?

By Kristy Warren


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. You’ve spent months readying your home for your new bundle of joy, but is your holiday gathering ready, too?


Make sure you're ready for a safe holiday celebration with these babyproofing tips!


Safety starts in the crib. Start babyproofing early by following the ABCs of safe sleep: baby sleeps Alone on his or her Back in the Crib. While you may be tempted to decorate your nursery for the holidays, avoid using pillows, bumpers, blankets, or stuffed animals in the crib and instead use a cozy sleep sack designed to keep baby comfortable in wintry weather.


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 placing 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.


See things from their POV. Time flies when you're having fun, and you’ll be surprised how soon your baby is able to grab for things and 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, candles, water sources, and decorations. 

Baby in red and green Christmas tree onesie exploring their surroundings


Securely tie down holiday decorations, furniture, and electronics. Lock up toilet lids, cabinets, and drawers from prying fingers using childproof latches.


Change diapers safely. Babies learn to turn over quickly, and if they attempt to roll while being changed, they can fall. Baby changing stations often have built-in safety straps to allow you to buckle your child in while changing their diaper, but during the holidays, you may be visiting company without a changing station. To avoid falls, have all the items you need laid out close at hand before beginning the diaper change. That way, you never have to turn your back and can safely hold your baby in place throughout.


Baby pulling on a Christmas present's ribbon while sitting on father's lap

Carefully supervise children near holiday decorations or food. The holidays are packed with exciting new sights, sounds, and smells that can captivate your baby. They may grab for ribbons, delicate ornaments, or food they cannot have. Ensure your family knows how to render first aid to a choking child. Tie blinds, lights, and curtain cords well out of baby’s reach, or install breakaway safety tassels.

Identify and remove choking hazards.
From tinsel and ornaments to tasty treats like nuts, hard candies, and popcorn, the holidays present many choking hazards. Even older children can be at risk, especially if eating while running and playing with family or friends.


Mind your medications. With extended family visiting, baby has new access to purses and toiletry bags with pillboxes. Keep all prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements in upper, locked cabinets and dispose of expired or unwanted medications using a drug deactivation pouch or a drug takeback box, never the trash or toilet. To request a free drug deactivation pouch, visit the Laurel Health Center closest to you.


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, and sharp drops.

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.



Baby trying to climb a baby gate blocking the stairs

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.


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.


Keep playtime safe. ‘Tis the season of giving but purchase age-appropriate toys that cannot be swallowed, easily damaged, or pulled apart. Don’t let your baby play with their older relatives’ toys unsupervised. Toys' suggested age ranges help ensure who's old enough to play with it safely and that it meets your child’s current developmental needs (e.g., appropriate for teething babies). 

Baby playing with toys and cardboard book


Regularly inspect toys for any damage or loose parts. If you are using a toy box to keep the playroom clean, 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.


For more information on safety tips for the whole family, stay tuned to Laurel Health's wellness blog or visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/laurelhc.