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Coming Home for the Holidays

Randy DeVaul

Posted on December 18, 2018 20:00

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As new parents and grandparents preparing for family festivities, remember to child-proof your house for the little ones, whether the babies are children or pets. Doing so will keep them safe and reduce your stress while celebrating the holidays together.

If as a grandparent you live in the same region of the country as your children and grandchildren, then you may already have your home prepared for a holiday visit. Or, maybe you are going there and can avoid the whole ‘childproofing’ issue. If you do not live close by or, if you have a relatively new grandchild coming to visit, you may need some reminders for safeguarding your home (and your stuff) to ensure you have an enjoyable and “uneventful” (no emergency department) visit with family.

How you prepare your home for the holidays can create memorable family times. If you plan to have a real Christmas tree, pick out a healthy one right from the start. A fresh live tree shouldn’t lose needles when tapped on the ground. Once in place, give it plenty of water so the needles don’t dry up and “flame out.” A six-foot tree will use up to a gallon of water every two days! And if you intend to place the tree early for the holidays, consider an artificial tree and an aerosol can of “pine tree scent.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost half of all fires involving Christmas trees are from electrical problems – short circuits, circuit overloads, etc.  Remember the cat in National Lampoon’s Holiday Vacation? It’s a scream in the movies; it’s a real scream in real life. Placement of lights, glass ornaments, and other decorations in the home must consider the age of the youngsters and temperament of any pets.

A 9-month old’s perspective is different than yours. Anchor the tree, guard or reposition any plugged-in cords on the floor, keep those pretty lights with their “chewable” cord beyond the reach of small fingers and small teeth or gums, place glass ornaments somewhere other than the lower branches, use your fireplace with a screen. Don’t forget that animals and kids love to ‘eat’ anything they can get into their mouths. Edible decorations, such as strings of popcorn or old fashioned ornaments of apples and berries, are not really designed or intended for eating. Neither are ribbons – loved by cats and children, alike – wrapping paper, or tape. Check also for toxic berries from holly, poinsettias, garland, and other ‘attractive’ objects.

Alcohol is often part of holiday celebrations. Remember to keep it out of the reach of children, including the half-empty/half-full glass you set down to go check on dinner.

Candles are often used during the holidays. I prefer battery-operated ones to reduce risk of falling, burning, and smoking, but if you absolutely have to use real ones, be sure they are securely placed in holders, out of reach of kids, and not directly under or next to your curtains and drapes.

Beyond the holiday décor, check under your kitchen and bath cabinets for ‘drinkables’ and lock up prescription medications. Holidays are known for changing schedules and activities. Make sure you change your house to keep everyone safe at home.

Randy DeVaul

Posted on December 18, 2018 20:00

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The holidays should be a time for family, fun, and celebration.

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