Crawlers, Toddlers and Christmas Trees
Baby’s first Christmas?
What an extraordinary time for your family! I don’t want to be a downer, but I do want to help you have a safe and happy holiday. Let’s talk about Christmas trees–those beautiful, twinkling, fragrant icons of the holiday. Want to know the best new baby gift you can put under the tree? I thought you’d never ask! What new better gift than keeping your baby safe this Christmas? Here’s what you need to know:
• Common winter allergies for children include Christmas trees. While a live tree can be beautiful and fragrant, it can trigger allergies in some children. Both live trees and long-stored artificial trees (ornaments and lights, too!) can also hide mold, which can also trigger allergy symptoms.
• Electrical danger exists wherever something is plugged into a power outlet. Make sure the outlet is out of baby’s reach. And you know how babies love to put things in their mouths. The colorful, twinkling lights can look like candy to a toddler. Besides the electrical danger, baby can grab the wires and pull the tree down. Consider a smaller, table-top tree that’s off limits to baby without your supervision. At the very least, tie your tree to a wall, a staircase banister or something sturdy.
• Ornaments, like twinkling lights, will also attract your baby’s attention. Broken ornaments are essentially broken glass. Sometimes ornaments look like cookies–they look good enough to eat. And don’t forget the wire-hooked hangers that accompany a lot of ornaments. Almost anything on the tree can be a choking hazard.
• Keep your tree watered so that it doesn’t dry out. Fallen Christmas tree needles, dry or otherwise, are a potential hazard because of their sharpness and a baby’s propensity to put anything and everything in that tiny mouth. Be sure to clean fallen needles regularly.
• Brightly wrapped presents are sure to catch baby’s eye. Keep in mind that the corners are sharp. Unwrapped presents, like a new tricycle or bicycle, may have sharp corners and edges, too.
Christmas is a great time to use your baby gates to prevent baby from any unsupervised visits to the tree. Or place your tree in an old playpen so baby can’t get to it. Be aware and alert–and have a very happy holiday!