Making the house safer for kids doesn't mean you have to live in a completely sterile space. Moving treasures, heirlooms, and other breakables out of reach, is really for your own peace of mind, as well as the safety of the little ones. For Ed and I, these changes will be short-term anyway, because most of our grandchildren live far away.
- Make lots of space, if you can! Move out furniture that isn't going to be needed for a few weeks. Move in furniture that gives enough seating for adults, but still allows enough floor space for kids to crawl and play nearby.
- Move breakables & irreplaceable items to closet shelves, safely out of reach. Anything that's within a child's reach should be kid-friendly, so you won't be saying, "don't touch" like a broken record! This will save stress on you, as well as the kids' parents.
- If you have a working fireplace, you might want to invest in a special fireplace gate for safety. Currently, we don't use our fireplace for burning wood, however we do use romantic candles in place of logs. This year, I want to light up the fireplace with some mini-lights and logs, as in the photo below, to give it a warmer, more Christmas-y feel, and still be kid-safe.
- If families with young kids are staying in your guest room, you might want to invest in child-sized cots (like these here and here) that fold up to store easily out of the way when not needed. Remember that some younger children will still need naps during the day, so this will be a safe place without the fear of falling off of Grandma's big bed!
- Although the myth about real Poinsettias being poisonous to kids and pets has been de-bunked, you might still want to use faux plants, to avoid the mess if they are tipped over. Here's what you should worry about children swallowing during the holidays: holly berries (which are toxic), hot drinks (which could scald) alcohol left in glasses, and small ornaments that look like food.
- Check under your bathroom sinks and remove anything hazardous, like cleaners, razors, shaving cream, medications and the like. Put it out of reach, or in a locked cabinet. You'd be surprised at how quickly a toddler can get into trouble, when "washing their hands". I clearly remember my then-4 year old blonde girl putting clear nail polish on her eyelashes because she thought it was her Grandma's eye makeup! We had to call poison control for that one, and thankfully she was fine. Oh, which brings me to: Look up the phone number for Poison Control in your area, and keep it on the fridge!
- Look around for tripping hazards. With all of our TVs, computers, tablets, etc. we often have all those charging cords everywhere. Little people learning to crawl or walk can get tangled up, or accidentally pull something down. This also applies to the elderly or anyone with a mobility issue. In addition, curtain or mini-blind cords, etc. can be a strangulation hazard, and need to be tied up high, and non-accessible to little ones.
As you can see, making your home a safe environment for young children to visit can also give you a clean slate on your way to decorating for the holidays!
In upcoming posts, I'll show you how to make kid-friendly, unbreakable tree ornaments, that are still classic and neutral enough to add to your regular collection! I'm anxious to show you some great ways I've come across to deter little ones from touching the tree; how to make a child-friendly nativity; and a tree that kids are encouraged to touch and decorate all on their own!
Christmas at Grandma and Papa's house is going to be fun for everyone! So you don't miss a thing, be sure to follow me on Facebook, and catch up with me on Instagram and Twitter!