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Erin van Vuuren

Holiday Safety Tips For Baby

The holidays bring joy and cheer—and a sack-full of safety hazards. Babyproof your house to ensure your festive décor is safe for the entire family.

Heading into the holidays with a new baby? If your little one is mobile, you might want to rethink some of your old decorations—all those sparkles and lights will draw baby in like nobody's business. No need to play the Grinch; just take a few extra precautions. Check out the tips from parent coach (and mom) Alexandra Blumencranz:

The tree
If you'll have a Christmas tree this season, be careful what’s in reach of crawling babies or toddlers. “Keep glass or sharp ornaments off the bottom of the tree, with only plastic or wooden ornaments on the lower branches,” says Blumencranz. “Keep in mind too that branches are also easy things to grab.” You certainly don't want the whole tree tumbling down! So what's a mom to do? Take a cue from Blumencranz's own holiday routine: For the first few years as a mom, she bought a four-foot tree and placed it on a table atop a pretty cloth. That way it was festive—but out of reach. Can't sacrifice the eight-foot sparkling wonder? Baby gates are always an option.

The accessories
There's no need to throw out all of your festive décor, but make sure you aren't placing anything dangerous within baby's grasp. Check garlands and wreaths for small things that could be ripped off and eaten, and if you’re buying dreidels, make sure they’re too big to fit in baby’s mouth. Also, be wary of older strands of lights that might get very hot. Candles should be kept out of reach too. Mistletoe and holly can be toxic, so secure them where they can't be easily knocked loose. (Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are perfectly safe.)

The gifts
If your holidays are usually punctuated by mounds of packaging, just keep an eye out for anything that could be too sharp or too small. While a wad of wrapping paper can actually make for a decent toddler distraction, Blumencranz warns that ribbons and bows can get wrapped around baby's neck or even eaten, which is especially dangerous if held together by a staple. Also, quickly toss any plastic packaging left lying around when gifts are opened—it's a major suffocation hazard.

The goodies
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas...there's one thing that pretty much all holidays have in common: food. And lots of it. “Be careful of hot dishes or pans,” Blumencranz says. When the buffet is laid out, do a quick check to push back anything that baby could reach. And, if your kitchen is brimming with aunts, grandparents and hot plates, consider keeping the kiddos clear by setting up another room with a few baby-safe holiday games, crafts or silly toys.

Expert Source: Alexandra Blumencranz, CPC, founder of Positive Parent Coaching Inc. in Clearwater, Florida

Updated November 2016

PHOTO: iStock