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The five senses of Christmas

There’s 12 days, 2 calling birds, 3 wise men and a similar number of ships sailing by, 5 gold rings and 25 doors in an advent calendar. These are some of the numbers associated with Christmas.

But a less well known Yule-tide number is 5 – as in the five senses that you need to think about when keeping children safe in the face of the very special dangers that lurk in the Christmas household.

  1. Sight – Christmas is a time when things aren’t quite as they seem. If it’s red and silvery and looks like a Santa or a reindeer then it’s probably for eating. Unless it’s a candle or a tree decoration. It isn’t a time to relax the normal rules about keeping dangerous or potentially poisonous objects out of reach and out of sight.
  2. Smell – What’s nicer than all those Christmas smells - pine trees, mince pies and roasting turkey? But sometimes the goose is well and truly over-cooked or other kitchen disasters can fill the house with less pleasant seasonal aromas. At that point the room fresheners and the scented candles come into their own. But for a toddler what smells good can seem as if it might taste good too. So buy room fresheners that are protected by Bitrex – even the most determined toddler will stop short at swallowing something with the world’s bitterest taste
  3. Touch – Toddlers learn through their senses – and Christmas is a wonderland of new and exciting things to test your finger tips on. Fur, shiny smooth decorations, twenty different types of wrapping paper, tickly tinsel, ticklier pine needles, are all part of learning about the world and Christmas is a time of abundant new things to explore. Which is fine until toddlers start to do their explorations unsupervised. That’s when mayhem breaks out and there are real risks. So supervise small children at all times especially when the living room looks like a treasure trove of things to touch.
  4. Taste – Christmas looks, smells and feels amazing to toddlers. Putting things in your mouth is one of the ways you learn as a toddler. And it is also where things start to become even more dangerous. Not just for obvious dangers – but also for the less obvious. For instance there’s a lot more cleaning goes on at Christmas to get the house ready for all the relatives. Cleaning materials look and smell as if they might just taste good too. Choose cleaners with the Bitrex logo as a final line of protection of they do get into the wrong hands.
  5. Hearing – there can often be so many people and so much going on the house at Christmas that sometime you don’t hear that the smallest members of the household are in trouble. Keep toddlers in sight at all times – and in earshot too.

Finally, there’s an extra sense that all parents need at this time of year - the ability to sense when festive fun is about to become merry mayhem. But eyes in the back of the head aren’t always reliable, so safe storage, common sense about Christmas decorations and choosing products protected by Bitrex are all part of having a safe and happy Christmas.