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How to Baby Proof Your Home for the Holidays

All I Want for Christmas Is ...

Make It Fun It's better to give than receive -- except for baby, who'll be getting a gazillion toys, some of which may not be appropriate. Give a little guidance to friends and family to ensure their gifts are fun and safe.

Keep It Safe Tactfully steer gift-givers to toys geared to baby's age. Create a wish list so you can identify specific items that are a good match for your child. Avoid balloons, toys that plug into outlets and those with strings or small parts (strangulation and choking hazards, respectively). Give dreidels to older children, not babies or toddlers.

When opening gifts, immediately discard paper, ribbons, bows, bags and packing material (like Styrofoam peanuts). Read the instructions for toys and games carefully and inspect them for loose or broken parts and sharp edges; store any that aren't baby-friendly out of reach. Try out ride-on or push toys indoors in a safe space, such as a carpeted area.

Hassle-Free Holiday Chances are baby will receive plenty of gifts from relatives and friends, so consider a special family outing or mommy-and-me day: a free -- and memorable -- present.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire ...

Make It Tasty Cookies baking in the oven ... holiday goodies are fun to make and eat, even for baby -- just don't overdo it.

Keep It Safe That holiday spread is as enticing for baby as it is for your guests. Watch for potential choking hazards, especially hard or round treats like candy, nuts and crudités, as well as alcoholic beverages that could be mistaken for milk or fruit juice. Keep a lookout for things that are easily pulled or knocked over, such as tablecloths and runners, hot liquids and platters at the edges of counters and tables.

While it's fine to let a baby who's eating solids try a new treat, it's best to stick to his regular diet and feeding routine. Holiday foods that are quite rich (we're looking at you, eggnog) or have an abundance of unusual ingredients (fruitcake, anyone?) are best for school-age or older children. Make sure any foods meant for children under 4 are cut into bite-size pieces.

Hassle-Free Holiday Consider handing over the hosting duties this year. Let someone else do the cooking and clean-up, leaving you free to mingle with your new baby and bask in all the attention he -- and you -- are sure to receive.

 

 

 

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