Hosting wee holiday guests? 7 safety steps for grandparents

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Family gatherings at Grandma’s house are the stuff seasonal songs are made of. Grandparents delight in hosting extended family for festive events, no doubt. But for grandmothers and others who typically see far less toddler traffic the rest of the year, the increase in visitors can be a bit unsettling… and potentially unsafe.

If you’re one of the fortunate ones hosting a houseful of young’uns for festive fun, consider making the following alterations while putting out seasonal decorations to ensure holiday gatherings at Grandma’s are as merry and bright—and safe—as can be.

7 safety steps to take, measures to make

Put up medications. If your house is anything like mine—usually kid-free—my daily medications sit on the kitchen counter, my husband’s in a bathroom drawer. Before grandkids arrive—even if for just a short stay—put them up and away and out of sight. It can take mere minutes for a curious kid to make the life-changing mistake of messing with meds. And never assume child-proof packing is indeed childproof.

Tend to toilets. Make potty time easier for wee ones by having a step stool nearby. More importantly, invest in a safety gadget that locks the lid to keep out those who use the toilet for waterplay not potty time. Plus—and this one I learned from experience—consider getting a slow-shut toilet seat (or lid alteration kits that slow it down), especially for little boys just learning to pee the big boy way. Poor Camden once suffered a slam at my house, announced with pained shrieks of “I broke my penis!” Oh, the grandma guilt on that one!

Scan and safeguard throughout. Electrical plugs, cabinet doors and drawers, and more need attendance. Child Safety Store offers a Safety 1st Home Safeguarding Kit* ($18.99) that contains childproofing essentials: cabinet slide locks and door latches; door know covers, and plug protectors. Eighty pieces in all, in one fell swoop o’ safety.

Tether, tether, tether. Falling TVs, bookcases, dressers, and more cause countless serious injuries. Purchase tether kits to keep it from happening to your beloveds. While you’re at it, be sure to tether your holiday tree(s), too. If you don’t want to attach the tree to the wall or ceiling (or weight the base/tree stand to prevent tipping), consider making a “gift gate” with large, weighted, wrapped boxes around the bottom of the tree that keep the tree out of toddlers’ reach.

Get out the gates. Your pets, particularly those not used to having children around, will appreciate being kept out of reach of the toddlers, too. Child Safety Store has numerous options for child gates, but an especially stylish one (that swings open so no need to take it down for grownups to get through) is the KIDCO Designer Angle Mount Safeway Gate* ($56.25). It’s great for uneven entry points. And, of course, it’s a super way to prevent kids from falling down stairs.


Light the way. Unfamiliar stairways—gated or not—as well as hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms can be scary spots for grand guests. Add nightlights here and there to help them get where they wanted to go without getting scared… or tripping over rugs and such.

Guard the doors. How many times have you wondered where a little one might have wandered and feared he or she may have headed out the door to roam the neighborhood or check out Grandma’s pool or hot tub. Ease your mind—and keep little explorers and sleep walkers indoors—with a Cardinal Gates The Door Guardian* ($22.99 at Child Safety Store). It’s not much to look at for photos, but it’s mighty helpful in making exterior doors impossible for little ones to open. Plus, regardless of guests, it’s mighty helpful in securing against home invasions. A brief (summertime) demo:

For more tips on childproofing your home, visit For more childproofing products, visit

*Disclosure: I received these products free from Child Safety Store to consider for editorial inclusion.