Safe Holiday Season, safe holiday, fire safety, christmas tree safety, thanksgiving safety, toddler safety, baby safety, choking hazard, safe holiday food, safe holiday fun, holiday poisons, baby safety at christmas, cooking safety

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Little Ones Don’t Belong in the Kitchen

Watch your attention span carefully during the holiday season. Clearly, you’re going to be busy and sometimes a new walker or toddler will wander where they shouldn’t, even if you turn away for seconds. Preparing holiday meals can be a baby safety nightmare. Your family and friends are running around a hot kitchen quickly, everyone is grabbing large pots of boiling liquid, the oven door opens and closes continually, hot dishes get set out to cool, and often sharp utensils are left within easy reach on the counter. Due to all this festive, yet dangerous meal prep, your baby or toddler shouldn’t be in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Have a non-cooking adult watch over the kiddos, put a gate up at the kitchen door, or place your child in a fun, safe but enclosed baby play yard.

Safe Holiday Season, safe holiday, fire safety, christmas tree safety, thanksgiving safety, toddler safety, baby safety, choking hazard, safe holiday food, safe holiday fun, holiday poisons, baby safety at christmas, cooking safety

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Look Out for Holiday Poisons

Oddly, most parents panic about holiday plants, such as the Poinsettia. In reality, Poinsettias are the least of your holiday worries. A study at Ohio State University found that if a 50 pound child ate a whopping 500 Poinsetta leaves, they might get a slight tummy ache and that’s about it. Still, they do pose a slight risk. If a child handles the leaves of a poinsettia then rubs her eyes or skin, irritation and redness may occur. That said, it’s best to keep Poinsettias and other holiday plants and flowers up and out of reach. The most worrisome poisons during the holidays, according to The Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC), are as follows:

Alcohol: Of course you know not to hand your toddler a beer, but during the holidays plenty of adults leave drinks laying around, which is maybe why DPIC says there’s a large increase in poison center calls about children and alcohol poisoning during this season. If you’re celebrating with alcohol make sure it’s all  up and out of reach.

Essential Oils and Flavors: During the holidays lots of people use oil of wintergreen, menthol, camphor, eucalyptus, and other essential oils and flavorings in foods and homemade gifts, and these can be toxic for young children if ingested AND they’re likely to be ingested as many of these oils and flavors smell like yummy candy.

Dry Ice: DPIC says that dry ice, a common holiday accessory, can cause tissue damage, and burns to the mouth can occur from ingestion. Keep dry ice away from kids and if your little one gets his hands on some, flush his skin with warm water or give him lukewarm water to drink if he eats some.

Remember, no matter what, if your child touches or ingests a poison or you suspect he has, always call poison control for advice.

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Be Fire Safe

During the holidays fires become more common and this puts your little ones at risk. To avoid fire dangers during the busy holiday season, do the following:

Skip the candles: Candles look super appealing to little ones. They’re colorful, bright, and best of all shining! Kids love to grab at candles, so if you do light up, place candles up high and out of reach or use flame-free fake candle lights. If you must have the real deal, choose wide candles as opposed to slim tapers which are easier to knock over.

Watch the tree: According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees, both real and artificial, “Were the first items ignited in an estimated 300 reported home structure fires per year since 2000.” To prevent your tree from going up in smoke, keep it well watered, never place your tree near a fireplace or other heat source, and look over your holiday lights annually for cracked bulbs, frayed wires and loose connections.

Go flame resistant: If you decide to buy an artificial tree, choose a flame resistant one or avoid decorating it with lights.

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Decorate Safely

The decor above is really cute, but to a baby or toddler those buttons and fake holly berries probably look pretty fun and tasty. Decorate minimally and carefully if you have young children in the house. Sometimes we forget that typical holiday items can pose a very real danger to little ones. Hooks for tree ornaments and ornament edges are sharp, holiday flowers and wreaths can be dangerous if ingested, pine needles that fall on the floor are sharp and a choking hazard, mistletoe and holly berries pose poison risks and so on. Be very aware of how you decorate. Don’t forget the simple things too, such as a pretty Thanksgiving or Christmas hanging tablecloth. Tablecloths are festive, but they’re also just begging to be tugged on by little hands. If your newly walking baby pulls on a tablecloth, it may come right off the table along with flowers (poisonous), candles (hot), food (choking hazard), and knives (sharp). Lastly be aware that fake food decor such as fake fruits, candy and other pretend food objects look pretty darn real to young children who may want to munch them and then they could choke.

Safe Holiday Season, safe holiday, fire safety, christmas tree safety, thanksgiving safety, toddler safety, baby safety, choking hazard, safe holiday food, safe holiday fun, holiday poisons, baby safety at christmas, cooking safety

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Keep Baby’s Sanity In Tact

Happy babies mean happy chill parents, but sadly the holidays can be scary and overwhelming for little ones, resulting in not so happy babies or parents. In order to celebrate a peaceful holiday season, keep the following in mind:

  • Keep the noise levels down to a dull roar. Babies and even toddlers have sensitive little ears. Loud music, loud voices and too much noise can be frightening and even damaging to a baby’s hearing.
  • Too many new faces can freak a baby out. Limit the effects of holiday stranger anxiety by giving your baby time to warm up to friends and family. Don’t just toss junior into waiting arms as it may scare him.
  • Stick to a normal routine. The holidays can be frantic, but make sure you stick to nap schedules when possible as well as a regular feeding and changing schedule.

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Plan Baby & Toddler Friendly Meals

First of all, keep a close eye on your own food. Babies at the food grabbing stage will grab anything they can off your plate and stuff it into their mouth. Secondly, pay attention to these prime holiday food dangers:

  • Holiday candy: Most holiday candy is unsuitable for little ones. Go with soft holiday cookies instead if you want to give your child a treat.
  • Honey: Honey, used in all kinds of holiday fare, carries spores called Clostridium botulinum that can cause botulism (food poisoning) in a baby under the year of one.
  • Dairy products: Dairy recipes made from cow’s milk are not suitable for young babies.
  • Lumps and bumps: Nuts, dried fruits (including raisins), whole grapes in gelatin or fruit salad, and tons of other small food items pose a huge choking risk for babies and toddlers. Make sure your tot only gets food he’s ready for.
  • Marshmallows: People love marshmallows on yams, but the soft fluffy texture makes them hard for babies to manage, and smaller marshmallows can become lodged in a baby or toddler’s throat.
  • Meat: Young children (all of us really) don’t need meat. However, if your holiday does include meat, do not allow your baby or toddler to have turkey or other meat that’s attached to the bone, as it can be a choking hazard.

How to prepare baby’s holiday meals:

Babies eating solids and toddlers, barring the safety precautions above, can actually have many of the same foods you serve adults on the holidays. However, don’t rush it. If your little one is too little, skip the holiday meal. For instance, newborns to babies six months of age should be drinking breast milk or formula only.  If your baby’s pediatrician says solids are OK, be sure that all foods are finely pureed and strained. Babies already on solids and used to eating can have heartier textures, such as mashed items or foods that are a thick oatmeal texture. For more tips on safe baby food read our guide to homemade baby food.