It’s finally the holiday season! After the crazy year we’ve all had, everyone is excited to spread some cheer this season and spend time with our families. This wonderful time of year also comes with extra safety precautions for those of us that have pets and little ones running around the house. Whether you’ve got a dog, a cat, a baby, or all three, we know you want to take every precaution possible to keep them all safe from potential dangers around your home. From tree safety to opening presents to making that big holiday meal, we’ve got you covered! Read below for our best tips on how to keep your family safe during the holidays.
1. In 2018, the American Christmas Tree Association found that over 77% of American households celebrated the holiday season with a Christmas tree. For many families, a Christmas tree is a holiday tradition that will never be missed! Whether you have a pet or a toddler, here are some tips to keep your tree hazard-free this year:
- For real trees: make sure your tree is always watered, and only use plain water in your tree’s stand. Additives to your tree’s water can be hazardous for both pets and babies if ingested. Also be sure to clean up any fallen needles right away, as swallowing them can cause painful injuries in the mouth and throat.
- For artificial trees: double check that your tree is labeled as fire-resistant. If it is older and you’re not sure, we recommend replacing it.
- Ensure that your tree is sturdy and secure so that it doesn’t fall on your pet or baby if it gets bumped. A lemon-scented air freshener might help deter your cat from climbing your tree.
- Keep fragile and homemade ornaments out of reach of children and pets. Broken ornaments can cause injury, and homemade dough ornaments can be toxic to pets.
2. Keep a close eye on your kiddos while they are helping decorate for the season. This is especially important if they are handling fragile ornaments, lighting, tinsel, and other breakable objects.
3. Don’t leave kids or pets unsupervised in a room with fire hazards, such as a fireplace, candle, lighters, matches, candle warmers, or any other source of heat or flame.
4. Remember that any object that can fit through a toilet paper roll poses a choking risk for children. So make sure to keep small decorations secured our out of reach. Any other decorations that pose a risk should be secured to the wall or put away.
5. Many typical holiday plants can be hazardous or poisonous if ingested by pets or babies, including mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias. Keep out of reach of babies and pets, and keep the poison control number handy: 1-800-222-1222
6. Consider using a Superyard or Petyard around your tree to keep your toddler or pet from getting into the tree and protecting ornaments and presents. This will provide a barrier so you don’t have to worry about anyone getting into any mischief while you’re not looking.
7. If you’re giving any gifts this year that could be hazardous, such as fragrances, anything with glass, poisonous substances, or sharp objects, avoid putting them under the tree. This way you won’t have to worry about a pet or baby getting into them on accident.
8. Make sure that the gifts you buy for little ones are age-appropriate and don’t contain any choking hazards. Toys that use outlets and button batteries can be hazardous to children, as can anything with balloons or strings. Check out this Age-by-Age Guide to Toys from Parents for some ideas.
9. There are also some kinds of treats and toys that can be harmful to pets, such as ropes, rawhide, and toys with squeakers. The Humane Society has more resources on choosing the best toys and treats for your pup!
10. If you use a knife or scissors to help open presents, make sure you keep it out of reach of your pets and kids when it’s not in use.
11. After opening gifts, make sure to dispose of all wrapping material as soon as possible. Ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, tape, bags, and other materials can pose choking and suffocation risks for children.
12. While you’re busy making holiday meals in the kitchen, it might be helpful to separate your kiddos and pets from the hustle and bustle by using a baby gate or pet gate to create separation. This way, no one will be near the hot oven or stove and won’t get in the way while you’re handling dangerous hot foods. Your child might also like being put in their high chair so they can feel like they’re part of the action.
13. Ensure that your pet can’t get into anything that contains an ingredient that’s harmful for them. This includes chocolate, grapes/raisins, onions, xylitol, and other toxic foods. Find a full list of foods that are toxic to pets on the ASPCA website. You can also keep the ASPCA Poison Control Center phone number on hand: 888-426-4435
14. Prevent burns by keeping hot foods and other cooking utensils out of reach. Try to use the back burners on your stove, and keep food away from the edge of countertops. If your stove had knobs on the front of it, use an Appliance Knob Cover to avoid potential burns.
We hope these tips will help to prevent avoidable accidents this season and give you peace of mind. Toddleroo by North States would like to wish you and your families a very Happy Holiday and all the best as we go into the new year! If you have any questions about our safety products, you can find our contact information here.