The bustling holiday season is upon us, bringing with it the joy of
transforming family homes into festive wonderlands. Dazzling lights, sparkly
tinsel, fancy dishes, and children's laughter are all part of the holiday
magic -- but young children and holiday decorations aren't always a perfect mix.
Worry not, armed with a few safety precautions, decorating alternatives, and a
dash of creativity, parents can create fun, hazard-free holiday homes for all to
By Krista Fabregas
Decorate a Safe, Festive Christmas Tree
As the centerpiece of the holiday home, Christmas tree safety is a primary
concern. The tree should be set in a stable stand and may be further secured by
tying twine or fishing line from the upper trunk to a hook on the closest wall.
Tree needles can be a choking hazard for small children, so check a live tree
closely for shedding needles, try to keep the floor clear of dropped needles,
and remember to keep the tree well watered to retain freshness.
Traditional Christmas tree decorations can pose child safety risks, but parents
have several safer decorating options. If using lights, wrap strands close to
the trunk, well away from little hands. Garlands and ribbon streamers, too,
should be placed out of reach of small children because of choking and
tree-tipping dangers. Fragile glass balls and ornaments, including any with
small pieces, can be securely tied high on the tree, but avoid using tinsel
icicles and hook-style ornament hangers around small children, as both pose
Decorate child-accessible areas on the tree appropriately for children's ages.
Some kid-tough ornaments to consider include mini frames made from fun foam,
felt, or fabric; cloth-covered foam balls, canes and other shapes; solid wood
shapes; and fabric bows.
Remember to check gifts under the tree for wrappings that may be dangerous, such
as tied-on ornaments and stretchy elastic cording. For added safety around the
Christmas tree, a versatile child safety gate such as KidCo's Configure Gate or
Hearth Gate can be installed to keep little ones at a safe distance.
Deck the Hall... Safely!
Parents can comfortably decorate with swags of boughs, garlands and lights
placed well out of reach over doorways and in other high areas, with electrical
cords secured to the wall and plugged into inaccessible outlets wherever
possible. When decorating a stairway in a home with children three years old or
younger, avoid wrapping boughs, garlands or light strands around the stair
railing or banister. These decorations pose the risk of choking or
strangulation, and they also can make the stairs inviting to play on and
railings difficult for small hands to grip. For a safer holiday touch, securely
tie individual decorative bows or other durable accents onto the railing or
banister, on the side away from the stairs.
Festive, Kid-Smart Holiday Home Trimmings
Parents can easily decorate child-accessible areas throughout the house using
child-friendly items with a festive twist. Consider topping a coffee table with
durable wooden bowls filled with colorful children's blocks, or quilted holiday
baskets spilling festive fabric-covered foam balls. Other kid-friendly holiday
dÃ©cor ideas include tough acrylic candy dishes filled with holiday cookies, and
carved wooden figures and charming toys tied with bright holiday bows. A
children's wooden nativity scene can make a homey, worry-free holiday
centerpiece in any room, and a child-safe dash of holiday color can be added to
sofas using piles of festive holiday pillows.
Holiday do-it-yourselfers and crafters can give holiday floral arrangements and
topiaries a safety boost by using break-resistant polymer clay containers, such
as Timeless Accents pottery by Floracraft.
Add Holiday Color with Easy-Care Slipcovers
Parents can give a busy family home a real holiday lift with furniture
slipcovers in rich seasonal hues. Ready-made slipcovers are an inexpensive way
to quickly update a look or change the atmosphere of an entire room, and they
offer the added benefit of protecting expensive furniture from sticky hands and
holiday spills. Top slipcovered furniture with piles of festive holiday pillows
for safe and truly easy-care holiday style.
Kid-Smart Holiday Kitchen Style
Families can enjoy festive and elegant dinner tables even in a home full of
active kids. Adorn holiday tables and buffets with tough acrylic salad bowls and
serving pieces in styles that mimic the beauty of fine glass without the danger
of breakage. Also consider replacing traditional fragile glassware and stemware
with safer polycarbonate drinkware. Glasses made from this crystal-clear,
high-quality plastic are unbreakable, dishwasher- and microwave-safe, and
available in styles that complement the dressiest table setting.
Child Safety on the Go
If spending the holidays away from home, parents with small children should take
a quick moment to rearrange for safety upon arrival. Consider packing a few
portable childproofing devices such as removable cabinet locks, electrical
outlet covers and a pressure-mounted gate like KidCo's Center Gateway. If
playing host this season, ask houseguests to keep medicines and toiletries
safely hidden out of children's reach, or consider clearing an inaccessible
shelf for guests' use. A careful moment will make holiday visits safer for
children and more relaxing for all.
Home Safety Never Takes a Holiday
Whether celebrating baby's first Christmas or maintaining a home full of busy
older kids, all parents should remember that safety never takes a holiday. But a
little caution and creative planning can make an inviting, safe and stylish home
easy to achieve for merry family holidays.
About the author
Krista Fabregas is the founder of KidSmartLiving, providing parents with
excellent resources, ideas and products that help create stylish, safe family
Visit online at www.kidsmartliving.com, or email Krista at
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