17 Toddler Safety Tips for a Holly Jolly Holiday
Holiday decorating takes on a whole new meaning when you have crawlers or toddlers around the house! What used to be a fun, festive activity can become a stress-filled and frustrating challenge. But it doesn’t have to be if you follow the toddler safety tips I shared below! Your holiday decorating might just need some adjustments. 😊
Trees… they are a fallin’
I have two very active boys. And to add to the fun, we also have two big, rambunctious dogs. My boys are just NOW getting to an age where I don’t worry nearly as much about my holiday decorating. And although I can still see Christmas trees falling over in my future, I am not as worried about the safety of my kids as I am about my ornaments! The kids are big enough that they would be okay if the Christmas tree came down on them. Ha!
When my kids were little, there was more than one year that we got a small tabletop tree. Tabletop trees were so nice for us because we have a small house and tabletop trees take up way less room. Also, it is so much easier to keep a tabletop tree out of the reach of little curious hands.
Get down to your child’s level
For a safe, successful holiday season with your toddler, my first suggestion is to get down to your child’s level and take a look around. See what you can see that your child could get into that doesn’t look safe. Adding all of the decorations and presents that come along with the holidays creates a whole new slew of things for your kids to get into.
Here are seventeen toddler safety tips for the holiday season.
- I already mentioned this, but my favorite and easiest suggestion for all-around Christmas tree safety is to have a tabletop tree. You can still decorate it, but it eliminates many of the concerns that come with the tree! Make sure to keep the tree away from the edges of the tables so it can’t be pulled down and I would suggest battery operated lights for it so there aren’t power cords to worry about.
- Be fire smart with some quick Christmas tree safety tips.
- When you buy a Christmas tree, make sure you pick a tree that is freshly cut and the needles do not fall off when you touch it.
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is fire-rated.
- Once in the house, never place the tree near a heat source, such as a radiator or fireplace. Also, keep any candles away from it.
- Do not block any exits with the tree.
- Fill the water in tree stands of fresh cut trees every day.
- Inspect the Christmas tree lights when putting them on the tree for any broken or loose bulbs or worn or broken cords.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before going to bed or leaving home.
- Check out more Christmas tree safety tips here.
- If you have a fresh cut tree, check often for needles that have fallen on the ground. They can get stuck in your kiddo’s throat.
- If you get a full-sized tree, think about where you are putting it. If you plop it down right in the middle of your kiddo’s play area you will probably spend a lot more time trying to keep tiny fingers away from it then you would if it is in a room that isn’t right in the middle of your kiddo’s play-space.
- If you don’t have a lot of options for where to put the tree (like in my small house) use a play yard, like the type for dogs or kids, to surround the tree. Depending on the kiddo, this may keep them away (my kids were relentless and a play yard wouldn’t keep them away, but this might work for other kids).
- Anchor the tree to the wall to avoid it from falling over if someone (toddler, cat, dog) decides that it would be fun to try to climb or pull over. Use a molly bolt (sometimes called a toggle bolt) in the wall and secure the tree with some clear fishing line near the top of the tree.
- Wait a day or two after putting up the tree to decorate it. This will give the curious toddlers some time to check out the tree without all of the fancy decorations.
- When decorating keep any delicate or breakable ornaments toward the top of the tree and out of reach of any little hands.
- Make your own homemade ornaments or buy non-breakable ornaments. Keep your fragile glass ornaments for a few years down the road. This way you don’t have to worry about them breaking. The shards of glass from those super thin glass ornaments are SO hard to clean up, too. You definitely don’t want a piece of that glass in your little one’s hands or feet. Take any metal hanging hooks off of any ornaments because they can be choking hazard and replace them with decorative ribbons instead.
- Strands of tinsel can be very dangerous if ingested by kids or pets. Keep it at the top of the tree or better yet put it up another year when you don’t know to worry about little ones putting it in their mouth.
- Pointsettas, mistletoe, and holly are all popular holiday plants but can be very irritating or poisonous for pets and kids. Mistletoe and holly are particularly unsafe and are best to avoid altogether if possible. Amaryllis is another popular winter plant and although beautiful, is quite harmful.
- Candles are particularly popular this time of year. Don’t ever use candles within arms-reach of kiddos and keep them away from anything flammable such as tree branches or straw (we have straw in our nativity scene). Never leave a kid in a room alone where there is a candle burning. The hot wax is a danger too.
- Remember, anything that can fit into a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard. There is always so much extra stuff around at Christmas, from ornaments, ornament hooks, pine needles, decorations, present pieces, candies, etc.
- Put toys together before you wrap them and remove them from packaging. This will allow less packaging (which can be a choking hazard) or small pieces of older kid’s toys. PLUS, everyone can play with their toys right away! Yea!
- For your sanity, do not leave wrapped presents under the tree. I am not even sure my nine-year-old could resist the temptation not to peek and therefore I still don’t put wrapped presents under our tree. It will be highly likely that a two-year-old will unwrap every present under that tree if she has 20 seconds to do it. Plus, the ribbons and tags can be dangerous to little kids.
- Have a plan for garbage BEFORE you unwrap presents. If you have a young toddler who puts everything in their mouth then present opening time is like WOO HOO, new stuff everywhere! Plastic ties, batteries, ribbons and more. Have an empty box or a garbage bag handy to throw all of the garbage into as you open gifts.
- If you have guests over, they likely won’t be as intuned to thinking about your toddler’s safety as you are. Watch for hot plates of food, hot or alcoholic beverages, purses or medicine that may be sitting around unattended.
Keep your routine
Lastly, remember that little kids do best when they are kept on their routine. This includes eating at regular times, eating healthy foods, getting to bed on time and taking naps. Christmas cookies, company, and holiday parties can be really dysregulating for everyone, especially the little ones. As much fun as it is to celebrate, it can also make us all overstimulated and cranky. As parents have grace, be patient and enjoy the fun and love that is the holidays.
I am not a safety expert. But part of my job as a maternal-child health nurse was to talk at length with parents about childproofing their house to keep their kids as safe as possible.
Comment or Question?
If you have comments or questions, let me know! You can comment below or email me here.