cookienookie.jpgThe grandchildren are visiting for the holidays. Time for grandparents to haul out the holly, fill up the stockings and… child-proof the house that rarely sees little ones any more. These tips will help ensure the grandchildren’s visit is a pleasant memory rather than a holiday nightmare.

Cleaning experts from THE MAIDS Home Services, a residential cleaning service, suggest the following:

1.Dig out those old playthings.  Or borrow a few from the neighbors. Grandchildren need something to do while the adults are busy.  Set aside a room with toys and games for the little ones. If the toys have been in the basement for awhile, clean them with a solution of warm water and dishwashing soap.
 
2. Vacuum “crawl spaces” and under everything.  Little ones spend a lot of time on the floor, whether playing or simply crawling around.  Vacuum all floors to remove dust, dirt and small items like rubber bands that can easily wind up in a child’s mouth.

asian_grandma.jpg3. Put away small, breakable or antique items. Make sure to move things like picture frames that have sharp corners that can injure small children.

4. Ask the children’s parents to bring along some child-proofing accessories such as electrical socket plugs. (Just about every parents has a few extras in a drawers.) Depending on your cabinet style, you may be able to “lock” lower cabinets with a heavy duty rubber band wrapped around the drawer pulls. Move wires, such as those for Christmas tree lights, out of reach.

5. Move garlands and other dangling holiday decorations out of your grandchildren’s reach.  A hanging garland can be a choking hazard for a curious child.  If you have a holiday tree, move breakable ornaments and loose tinsel to higher branches where they’ll be out of reach of little hands.  If the ornaments are particularly precious–like the one you inherited from your grandmother–consider keeping it safely stored away until the kids are big enough to know not to touch.

6. Keep an emergency stain remover kit handy.  Include a bottle of club soda, dry cleaning fluid and a plastic spray bottle filled with the following solution: one teaspoon mild laundry detergent, one teaspoon white vinegar and one quart of cool water.  This solution is safe for washable fabrics and most carpets. 

7. Move cleaning products that contain hazardous chemicals to high shelves or cabinets to ensure they are out of sight and out of reach of children.

Cindy Richards is the editor of TravelingMom.com and author of the TravelingMomWithTeens blog, which means she’s well past the child-proofing stage. Now she just has to keep an eye on the car keys.