This past weekend, my friends Kim and Monty were having a holiday party where I met Jackson, a 13-month-old boy who seemed to be on a mission to explore every inch of the house. It reminded me that many people who host parties or have guests visiting over the holidays might not consider childproofing their homes in the same way that a parent of a rambunctious 13-month-old would do.
I could tell immediately that Jackson's mother, Katrina, was a wonderful mom. We talked about how finding expert advice on a number of issues that concern new parents was challenging. Smartphones and Google have changed our lives. As she closely followed Jackson crawling around, she told me that she was most concerned that the electrical outlets might be uncovered. But, when I asked her if she had thought about Jackson getting into someone's medication in one of the many purses on the floor, she confessed she hadn't even thought of it. With that thought in mind, we programmed the Poison Control number into her cell phone: 1-800-222-1222. Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way.
Now, Jackson can scamper at the speed of light and was always under watchful eyes, but in the hustle and bustle of a holiday party, it's easy to lose track of a toddler on a mission. Here are some ideas to help protect all the kids at your holiday gatherings this month:
- Holidays present great opportunities for kids of all ages to play together and make new friends, but keep an eye on the toys at hand. Check to make sure there aren't any small parts or other potential choking hazards for the younger kids.
- Holiday decorations are lovely but can be tempting to kids. Watch for decorations that can break or be swallowed by a child.
- Keep an eye out for cords and strings, like those attached to window blinds or even holiday lights.
- I love seeing candles lit in windows and around the home this time of year. Flameless candles are safe and practical, but if you use a wax candle, be sure to keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, including young kids.
- Some holiday plants are poisonous, like holly berries, and others can cause a belly ache. It's best to just keep them away from little ones who may sample them.
From all of us at Safe Kids Worldwide, have a happy and safe holiday season. And from me and my new buddy Jackson, Happy Holidays!