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Deck the halls, but be careful if you have a small child.

The holidays are a busy time of year. And as a new parent, the responsibilities of holiday preparations combined with baby care may be overwhelming.

But before you go on automatic pilot and carry out "Christmas as usual," it's important to be aware of the added safety hazards that your baby faces at this time of year.

In today's post, we outline three baby-safe guidelines for decking the halls:

Tree trimming

Having a new baby on the scene doesn't mean you have to do away with your Christmas tree. But you should protect your baby from ornamental hazards. Hang any glass or fragile ornaments on high branches. If your baby snares such an ornament and puts it in their mouth, they could end up with serious gashes in their mouth. In addition, be aware that string lights can be a hazard--and not just for strangulation. The small bulbs of holiday lights can be easily plucked from the string--and choked on. Therefore, good practice is to block your Christmas tree off, so that your little one can't access it.

Stockings fixtures

Hanging stockings over the fireplace poses an unexpected safety risk--depending on how you hang them. Do not use metal stocking holders to affix your stockings to the mantel. If your baby grabs ahold of a stocking and pulls it down, the heavy stocking holder could come crashing on their head--causing a concussion or other serious injuries. If you choose to hang stockings this year, use nails.

Present patrol

After the presents have been opened and the floor is littered with wrapping paper and toys, it's important to clean up the area as soon as possible. Battery-powered baby toys often include separate disc batteries adhered to the box. If your baby swallows these, they can cause serious damage to the esophagus. In addition, if older children have unpacked toys in the area, make sure there are none with small, ingestible parts left within reach of your baby. Clearing away leftover ribbons also eliminates a strangulation hazard.

Don't let your holiday festivities end in unnecessary disaster. Following the above safety guidelines can help keep your family protected during this joyful time of year.

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