The other night as I grabbed my laptop to catch up on emails and gather more Christmas ideas on Pinterest, my 17-month-old son, Eli, picked up my laptop cord and tried plugging it in our nearest outlet. Thank goodness for outlet covers!
Most parents with little children have childproofed homes, but have we all followed through with childproofing our holiday decorations?
Last Christmas, Eli could barely sit up on his own. This year he is walking…no, running…everywhere, which makes decorating our home much different from last year. We want this season to be a time of joy and magic for our family, not a time of danger. So, we are taking extra measures to ensure our decorating is also childproofed. Thank goodness for baby gates!
The best way I have found to childproof is to look at our home from Eli’s level, whether that be crawling, pulling up, or walking. Within a few days, a child’s perspective and the things a child can reach may completely change. As I looked around our home at every stage, I found things that could be a problem for Eli.
My most recent attempt at childproofing began as we started decorating for the holidays. Last year Eli couldn’t reach any table, much less the corner of our dining room table. While putting ornaments on our tree, I looked down and saw my once “little” boy wrap his hand around the handle of a fresh cup of coffee. Luckily Eli has already learned the word “hot,” but this momma learned a big lesson: I now have a big boy who can reach big things.
Last Christmas was all about watching the lights of the season for Eli. This year, Eli’s fascination has been with our Christmas tree ornaments. I quickly learned that all ornaments within his reach should be large and non-breakable. He hasn’t tried to eat any decorations yet, but we have had several ornaments launched through our house. Childproofing Christmas trees might be a great use for a baby gate!
Another thing that has changed this year is my use of candles and scented oils. I love the way these scents make my home smell, especially during the holidays. Candles and scented plug-ins once littered my home, but now they are absent from anyplace Eli could possibly reach.
Finally, since having Eli, I have started paying great attention to items that are brought into our home. Could someone have something with them that could hurt him? What has button batteries in them? A greeting card? A car remote? Does someone keep their medicine in their purse? One of Eli’s favorite things is going through bags. When hosting holiday visitors, make sure nothing dangerous is stored in their suitcases or purses where children may go exploring.
Although we can take precautions and childproof our homes, lives are not accident proof. So, I am thankful we have the West Virginia Poison Center to call and speak with medical experts in poison information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even during the holidays. Program their number into your phone (1-800-222-1222)—it may save a life.
Carissa McBurney is a community outreach coordinator at the West Virginia Poison Center and momma of a 17-month-old.