If you are a parent, child-proofing your home is second nature. You know not to leave small objects around young children. You also probably have a few safety gates protecting the stairs.
But if you are heading to aunt Mary’s or grandma’s house, and neither has had young children around in a while, you may want to tell them to put the good china away and take a few safety precautions. Here are some tips to share for the holidays:
* Avoid placing small ornaments, lights or other decorations with small parts in places children can reach. Choking is one of the biggest dangers for young children.
* Remember not to leave dishes of hard candies and nuts on the table. These are also items that your children can choke on. (Also be mindful that some young children have peanut-butter allergies, so avoid candies with peanuts altogether).
* Place breakable ornaments and those with sharp edges on higher branches on your tree, out of reach of little hands.
* Keep plants with berries (such as holly and poinsettia) out of reach, since these are poisonous if swallowed.
* Place candles and Menorahs out of reach. Children could knock them over and start a fire or burn themselves.
* Make sure all fireplaces are securely screened.
* Make sure that throw rugs and mats are firmly in place and will not slip if your children run on them
* Check the placement of extension cords to be sure that your children will not easily trip on them.
* Buy new tinsel, since the older kind might be made with lead.
* Make sure the tree is secure and can't be easily tipped over by children or a scared cat. Trees with pine needles are potentially dangerous, because a small child can choke on the needles, if he or she tries to eat them.
* Avoid edible decorations, including popcorn chains and candy canes, since younger children may think that all of the decorations are edible.
* Keep in mind that artificial snow and flocking materials are not edible, so you may want to avoid them if there are younger children in the home.
* Keep ashtrays and glasses at adults-only level. Even a small amount of wine, beer, or liquor sipped from an unattended glass at a party may be highly toxic to a young child. So can cigarette butts, which 1-year-olds have been known to eat.
Finally, you may want to make sure that the same child-safety precautions you take at home are enforced at your relatives’ house. For example: Keep medication, small objects, matches and other hazardous materials securely out-of-reach of prying hands; Erect safety gates near stairs; Make sure a pool is securely locked.
Compiled by Farmers’ Almanac TV Staff