The holiday season is a magical time of year, and when you’ve got a little one in your house, the season becomes even more meaningful. The joy and excitement are multiplied when you have the privilege of seeing everything through the eyes of a child. This is a time to build happy memories, so instead of worrying about your child’s safety, or even worse, having to deal with an issue, spend some time baby proofing your house before the holiday season begins.

Family traditions are extremely important, and for most families they involve decorating, and creating a festive atmosphere for holiday gatherings. Unfortunately, many of these decorations can pose a hazard for young children. Whether you have a baby in the house, or one is coming to visit for the holidays, use these tips to keep young ones safe.

First, consider the tree. While it is often the centerpiece of the holiday decorations, it does pose a danger. Make sure your tree is secure in the stand, and if possible, tether it at the top, too, to keep it from tipping over on your baby. Some families decide it is simpler to go with a smaller tree up on a table for the years when there are babies and toddlers in the house, to avoid constantly having to keep an eye on both the tree and the child.

Ornaments are another issue. Breakable ornaments should be hung up high, out of reach. Sometimes less is more when it comes to decorating the tree, and it’s best to put some of the more fragile ornaments away for a few years. Even ornaments that are not breakable could pose a danger with pins, styrofoam balls, and peeling paint. But if you feel it’s important to put out all your ornaments and decorate the tree completely, you may want to put a gate around the tree, or put it in a room that can be gated off so you can enjoy it without having to worry about your baby being hurt.

Many families use candles around the home at Christmas to create a relaxing atmosphere. Obviously, these can be a great hazard for curious little hands. Keep them high and out of reach this holiday season.

When it comes to gift-giving, everyone loves to shop for a child, so expect that your child will be spoiled. But, while friends and family mean well, they often don’t buy appropriate gifts. Check packages for recommended ages, and put away anything that has small pieces for when your child is older. As the presents are being unwrapped, immediately discard paper, ribbons, bows, bags, packing material, and all the little pieces that seems to be scattered around. Remember, little one’s love to put everything in their mouths.

Speaking of mouths, adults love to have a variety of special foods out to celebrate this time of year, but it’s important to make sure baby stays healthy. Resist the temptation to give a child a bite of everything, as some things are not appropriate for young children. Be especially careful with common allergens, including eggs, honey, and peanut butter. Also, be careful to leave candy and nuts out of reach, which are choking hazards.

The holiday season is an exciting time, but it is also important to be intentional and diligent about keeping the home safe for your child.