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Child-proofing your holiday decorations

>> Monday, December 10, 2012

Imagine your holiday home for a moment.

A fire crackling in the fireplace, a tree trimmed with sparkling lights and bright ornaments, wrapped gifts sitting underneath the tree, and a glass of egg nog in your hands.

Then open your eyes, and remember that you have a toddler.  And that whole scenario is one big pit of danger.  But, it doesn't have to be one scary toddler death trap after another, and here's how:

- Learn where to scale back.  Don't put packages or presents near or under the tree until Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  Otherwise, you risk your toddler not only damaging the gifts or the packaging, but also moving them around the room to use as stools to get up on other furniture.  Keep candles out of reach or completely away for a few years until your little one gets a bit bigger.

- Baby gates are your friend.  While it may not look beautiful, putting a play yard around your tree will help to keep your child away from your tree for a few Christmas seasons when fun and new shiny things go into their little hands and mouths.  Not to mention if the tree is off limits completely, your little one can't climb on it or pull it down.

- If you do opt for decorations, try safer alternatives.  Plastic ornaments and ribbons are excellent alternatives to traditional ornaments and decorations.  Adding larger bells onto your tree or around your home on your decor can alert you to when your child is getting into something, if your eyes are not always able to be on them.  Stuffed holiday toys like reindeer and elves can provide a safer look of the holidays in your home.

- Keep child-safe rooms.  If you want your holiday decor to remain somewhat similar to before having children, make sure that you have designated play rooms where your child can't get into your decor.

What are you doing to keep your holidays child-safe?

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