Christmas is ALWAYS a special time – but baby’s first Christmas is simply magical! Here are our top tips for making the most of the festive season with your little one.
Keeping baby safe at Christmas
Christmas is great fun – but it can also present lots of hazards to your baby that you may not have thought of.
So here we’ve compiled a list of important safety tips to observe during the holiday season – ensuring that a very Merry Christmas is had by all!
1. Your Christmas tree
Nothing really says ‘Christmas’ like a beautifully decorated tree – but did you know that the Christmas Tree is associated with most accidents in the home at this time of year? Here’s how to limit potential dangers…
- Christmas trees can tip over VERY easily. To guard against this hazard, make sure that yours has a stable, sturdy base – very often, the pot used is far too small for the height of the tree. A good tip to be extra safe is to attach a small hook high on the wall beside the tree and use a strong piece of twine to tie the top of the tree to it.
- Artificial tree vs real tree – evergreen trees have been found to make the symptoms of breathing disorders worse. If your baby has asthma or any other difficulty in breathing, choose an artificial tree.
- Pine needles are very hazardous to babies – they can lead to choking and are sharp enough to puncture internal organs if swallowed. Clear away pine needles as soon as they have dropped from the tree – you can minimize the amount that fall by watering the tree every day. This stops them from drying out, which also makes them less of a fire hazard than brown, brittle needles.
- To be SUPER safe, keep your baby away from the tree altogether. Some parents achieve this by putting the tree in a large playpen. Another option is to use a baby gate which can be arranged in a shape of your choosing.
2. Christmas lights
We all love to make our homes sparkle at Christmas and babies can be awed by the sight of beautiful, twinkling lights. To make sure those lights are as safe as can be…
- If the wires on your lights are broken, cracked or fraying, DON’T USE THEM! They could spark (and cause a fire) or could give you or your child an electric shock. And don’t forget – whenever you go out – or go to bed – UNPLUG YOUR LIGHTS.
- Wrap the lights around the trunk of your tree, rather than draping them loosely around the branches. That way, your inquisitive little one won’t be able to reach them and – potentially – pull the tree over.
3. Christmas ornaments, streamers, dreidels, tinsel and baubles
Beautiful as they may be, any of these may pose a choking hazard to your baby and should be placed WELL out of his reach. We recommend avoiding glass ornaments altogether until your baby is older, as they are especially dangerous. Ensure that any ornaments you DO use are quite substantial in size, as they will pose less of a choking risk than smaller ones. We also recommend avoiding all Chinese-made Christmas decorations – there have been repeated recalls over recent years because of very high lead levels in products made in China.
4. Angel hair
Angel hair is made from spun glass. It can severely irritate the eyes and skin and – if swallowed – can cause internal bleeding. Our recommendation? Give angel hair a miss if you have young children at home!
5. Edible garlands
They may have a lovely, traditional look – but garlands of food such as cranberry and popcorn pose a choking risk to baby. There is also a danger that, if placed on the lower branches, your baby may become entangled in them. If you do choose to use edible garlands, place them high on the tree and make sure they’re secure.
6. Snow spray
We hate to be party poopers, but it’s worth knowing that the chemicals in snow spray can worsen breathing problems. Give it a miss if your baby has any sort of respiratory issues.
7. Gifts under the tree
Any baby is going to be attracted by a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree – but, apart from opening them prematurely and spoiling a few surprises, these gifts do pose real hazards, too! Bows, ribbons – even the paper – can cause choking… and don’t forget that the gifts themselves may contain dangerous items like magnets, loose batteries or perfume.
8. Toxic plants
Several traditional Christmas plants are very hazardous to your baby. If eaten, mistletoe is deadly. Our advice is to avoid it completely and to check for it in any houses that you visit over the holidays. Other plants known to cause health problems – sometimes severe – are Holly, Amaryllis, Jerusalem Cherries and Poinsettia.
9. Keep an eye on well-meaning friends and relatives!
Yes, we know that sounds awful – but your baby’s safety is paramount. Passing a tray of drinks or hot food over your little one’s head is VERY dangerous – yet people (particularly those without children) will do this without thinking! Don’t be afraid to speak up and point out the danger – better a moment of embarrassment than a nasty accident, which really WILL leave your friend/relative feeling awful! Make sure, too, that visitors to your home close and latch all safety gates behind them and that they don’t leave dangerous items (like medication) where your little one can reach them.
10. Food safety
- We don’t recommend giving baby foil wrapped chocolate tree ornaments (chocolate money, for example), because your baby may get the impression that OTHER shiny items on the tree are edible too!
- Introducing new foods to your baby during the festive season is NOT a good idea! If he experiences resulting digestive problems – or, worse, has an allergic reaction – you could be spending Christmas Day seeking medical care (not always readily accessible at this time of year). If you are sharing your Christmas meal with your little one, ensure that he has been introduced to all the ingredients BEFORE the holidays!
- Make sure that visitors to your home are aware of any food allergies that your little one may have, or if there are any foods that you do NOT wish him to be given. Some visitors will think nothing of offering treats like candy to your child, whereas you may be incensed to find out that they have done so. Setting the ground rules early means that no one’s feelings have to be hurt!
- Think twice before washing yor turkey! The UK’s Food Standards Agency warns consumers NOT to wash their turkeys before preparing them for the Christmas meal. The logic behind this advice is that washing meat or poultry leads to harmful bacteria being splashed over work surfaces, chopping boards, dishes and utensils around the sink. These germs can stay active for days… yet the irony is that you cannot destroy food poisoning bacteria by washing it off with water anyway! These bacteria are destroyed by heat – so ensuring that your turkey is properly cooked is a far safer solution!
Cooking for your baby at Christmas
The festive family meal is one of the highlights of Christmas Day – but is it safe for your baby to share your dinner?
On our Christmas Baby Food page, we answer that question for you – and we also share some fantastic recipes for the holiday season, including dishes like baby-safe homemade stuffing, gravy, desserts and a vegetarian Christmas meal.
We hope these tips will help ensure that your Christmas Holidays are peaceful and happy – do please pass them on to any other parents who may find them useful!
Travelling with baby this Christmas?
Then don’t forget to check out all our pages designed to make your trip as stress free as possible…Pin It