When you have children, particularly babies and toddlers, nearly everything presents a potential danger. This is why we take precautions such as securing furniture to walls, using baby gates, and adding child-proof latches on cabinets. However, even a well child-proofed home can be susceptible to holiday safety hazards. The holiday season brings decor and items that are not typically present in our homes for most of the year, so it is crucial to be aware of potential dangers.
Below is a list of common holiday safety hazards to watch out for this year. Read on, and let us know on Instagram if you have additional items to add to the list. Let’s prioritize the safety of ourselves and our children this holiday season.
1. Stockings on the Mantle
If you hang stockings from the mantle using heavy or pointy stocking holders (such as Christmas trees, stars, snowflakes, etc.), consider finding a different way to secure them this year. Young children can sustain serious injuries by pulling on a stocking and being hit in the head or eye by the stocking holder that comes crashing down.
If you really like your stocking holder decor, consider this mom hack: install cup hooks directly beneath the stocking holders to hang the stockings from—it will still appear as if your stockings are hanging from the holders… but safely! You can also try using lightweight mantle hooks from Target.
available in multiple finishes
2. Ornaments on the Tree
We are not advising against placing ornaments on your tree. Just remember that small ornaments pose choking hazards, and glass or breakable ones can cause cuts. You can find numerous beautiful, non-breakable ornaments for the parts of the tree that little hands can reach.
3. Tall or Heavy Decor
If children are capable of touching something and knocking it over, they likely will. Kids are drawn to novelty, so if heavy decor items such as Santa statues or reindeer statues can fall on them, consider whether to set them up this year. The same applies to any new furniture or accent pieces brought out for the holidays—bookcases, dressers, cabinets, armoires—all should be secured to the wall, even if they are not in the child’s room.
4. Battery-Operated Decor and Toys
Many people adore the battery-operated mini LED string lights, but it’s important to ensure that children cannot reach them or any other battery-powered decorations or toys. This includes making sure they cannot climb onto furniture or use a footstool to reach them. Button-shaped batteries are particularly risky due to their round shape, posing a choking hazard. Additionally, any type of battery can cause esophageal burns if swallowed within two hours. Tape battery compartments closed to prevent them from opening if dropped, and store batteries in a secure place away from children.
5. Decor with Faux Berries or Other Small Elements
Is your garland or wreath adorned with small faux berries or other small elements? These can pose choking hazards as they may fall off when you are setting up or putting away your decor. Consider opting for simpler decorative elements this year, or be vigilant for any small pieces that may detach and roll away for little hands to find later.
6. Candles and Cozy Fires
During the holidays, many people enjoy winter-scented candles and fires in the fireplace. Keep all fire sources away from children, as well as away from your tree and other decor such as garland and wreaths. December and January are the peak months for home fires, so be sure to have your fireplace inspected before using it for the first time, and ensure that all of your smoke alarms are functioning.
7. Holiday Cooking
The kitchen is a busy place during the holidays and is also where home fires are most likely to start. Keep a close eye on anything that is cooking, and set timers to prevent becoming distracted and forgetting about something in the oven or on the stove. For young children, ensure that all pot handles are turned inward on the stove so they cannot be pulled down, consider child-proofing your stove knobs, and keep children out of the kitchen before opening ovens or moving hot dishes from one surface to another.
8. New Toys and Clothes
We all love receiving new toys during the holidays, but it’s important to ensure that the beautifully wrapped gifts are as safe on the inside as they appear on the outside. Clothing, such as shoes, often comes with silica gel packets, which should not be ingested and are choking hazards. Remove these before wrapping your gifts, and be vigilant as gifts are being opened by friends and family. Check new toys for loose parts, small pieces, and batteries to ensure that none are within reach of young children.
9. Plastic Packaging and Bags
As you and your children enjoy opening presents, or if you are receiving presents to be wrapped, be sure to promptly dispose of any plastic packaging or bags so that your children cannot find them later. The holiday season can be chaotic, especially while opening gifts and discarding wrapping paper and bows, so try to keep a close eye on your children and others as they open their gifts.