Tag Archives: Holidays

3 Quick Tips for Traveling with Pets

Lots of people bring their pets on vacations.  There’s a lot to remember, but here are three of our favorite tips from over the years:

I like to take out and measure each meal of food for the dog and put each meal in a small, resealable plastic bag. I know if I just grab one of those bags it’s the right amount of food and I don’t have to bring a measuring cup.
– Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Executive Vice President of National Programs and Science Advisor and owner of a dog, two cats and some fish.

A change in the water might cause diarrhea and intestinal distress for the pet. If you’re going to a different area, use bottled water. Also, your vet may be able to prescribe an anti-diarrheal medication or suggest a brand of canned food for your pet to prevent loose stools.
– Lisa Peterson, AKC Director of Club Communications and owner, breeder and handler of Norwegian Elkhounds

And this one is just plain smart:

Phone Number
Have a little tag made that has your cell phone number on it (many pet stores have machines that do this) – stick that on your dog’s collar when you’re traveling. If your dog gets away, they’ll call you at home but you won’t be there!
- Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Executive Vice President of National Programs and Science Advsor and owner of a dog, two cats and some fish

More tips here.

Vacation? Check These 6 Things

Go through this list and make sure you’ve got the names, numbers, dates, emails, and documents you need for  vacation.

  1. Hotel: Reconfirmed – Online confirmation printed or saved in phone – In person reservation? Get the name of the person you spoke with and the date – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed
  2. Airplane: Reconfirmed tickets/departure time – Confirmation number(s) – E-Ticket Printed or in Phone
  3. Car Rental: Reconfirmed – Confirmation number(s) – Email Confirmations Printed or in Phone
  4. Train: Reconfirmed tickets/departure time – Confirmation number(s) – E-Ticket Printed or in Phone
  5. Driving to your vacation destination? Call ahead and reconfirm: Your Arrival – Date/Time of Conversation – Person Spoke With – Confirming (and printing) route you’re planning to take
  6. Re-evaluate itinerary. Make any necessary changes. Leave a final copy with a friend, family member or trusted neighbor.

WHN TIP – At the Office: Leave your itinerary with a co-worker. Why? Often the first sign that something may be wrong is when someone doesn’t show up at work when they are due back.

How to Trim a Tree Safely

Yesterday we posted some info from the US Fire Administration and Safe Kids USA on fire safety around the holidays.  Today we’re looking at what they have to say about trimming the Christmas tree:

If you decorate a tree, Safe Kids USA and the USFA recommend these precautions:

  • Never leave a lighted Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended.
  • Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections, and broken sockets.
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
  • Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize this risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times.
  • Do not put a live tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator, or heat vent.
  • Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood, or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.

Decorate with children in mind:

  • Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
  • Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level
  • Keep lights out of reach.

Safe Kids USA offers these tips to prevent poisoning (take note of the berries for pets as well as kids!)

  • Keep alcohol (including baking extracts) out of reach
  • Do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
  • Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach.
  • Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.
  • Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.
  • In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

USFA and Safe Kids USA – Don’t Burn Down the House

Here’s a stat that wakes you up: the top four days for candle fires are around Christmas and New Years, according to a release from the US Fire Administration.  They’ve joined with Safe Kids USA to talk about fire safety and kids this season.

They also say that candles started over 15,000 house fires in the US in 2005.  That would probably wipe out a good portion of your neighborhood.

Also – from their release – Wintertime is the most dangerous time of the year for injuries and deaths from fire. Each year, approximately 450 children ages 14 and under die in residential fires; children under the age of 5 are at the greatest risk.

Here are their tips:

  • Battery-operated flameless candles are an alternative that does not have a fire risk.
  • Decorative lighting should be labeled with the seal of an independent testing lab and should only be used outdoors if it’s labeled for outdoor use.

And some tips from Suzanne Morton, Safe Kids USA fire and burn safety program manager:

  • Never, never leave lit candles unattended
  • Don’t put candles on a tree or a natural wreath, or near curtains or drapes
  • Keep matches and lighters locked out of reach of children

– Susan

Halloween is Saturday – Beware of Kids!

Halloween is this Saturday – which is a big night for kids (candy and costumes) as well as adults (beverages and costumes).

For Adults – Five Tips:

  1. If you’re driving, be cautious and go slowly – watch for kids and families as they walk through  neighborhoods.
  2. Trick or treating with the kids?  Watch them – if they are in masks or have a large costume, their vision (and coordination) may be less that perfect. (Read this to be sure the costumes are safe!)
  3. Remind kids that rules still apply. (Like – look both ways before crossing the road, travel in groups, don’t leave the group, and no running.)
  4. Have pets at home? If trick or treaters, ringing doorbells and strangers are too much, keep your dog or cat away from the front door.
  5. Don’t have kids and going out to a party? Crazy costumes + adult beverages = Get a cab.

– The WHN Team

Halloween Costume Safety

When we think of Halloween, costumes and candy usually pop into mind. However with all the fun it’s easy to forget about safety.

Here are a few costume tips from Jenna B., our guest blogger and child life specialist at Children’s Hospital in Minnesota.

Jenna writes: As a child life specialist in the ER, I never quite know what’s going to happen on any given day…especially a holiday. When I worked in the ER one Halloween night, I saw several Halloween costume-related injuries including –

  • A boy in a Star Wars costume who had accidentally poked himself in the eye with a plastic light saber
  • Another boy with a gash on his knee after he tripped on his Superman cape
  • A girl who needed stitches on her forehead after tripping and falling on the skirt of her Cinderella dress
  • A boy who needed stitches on his chin from crashing into a wall while wearing a Spider-Man mask he couldn’t see out of.

There seem to be three common “Halloween hazards” for kids in costume:

  1. Costumes that are too big or baggy.
    • No overly-large or baggy costumes – they cause tripping! If kids do have big costumes, consider cutting and trimming if they are overly baggy. Watch if they have a cape, cloak, a long train or loose ribbons or rope. This can be an accident waiting to happen.
  2. Masks or other head coverings that obstruct vision.
    • It gets dark early this time of year, remember that wearing a mask in the dark makes it even harder to see. This can lead to a painful collision with an unseen object. Encourage kids to use face paint, glitter, or stickers rather than face-covering masks.
    • Consider adding reflective tape to the fabric of your child’s costume so cars have a better chance of seeing kids.
  3. Swords, magic wands or light sabers.
    • While accessories make the costume, they can be dangerous – particularly if your kids aren’t looking where they swing the magic wand or light saber.  If your child insists on carrying a prop with their costume, encourage them to carry one that is rubber, plastic or non-pointy, so that won’t hurt themselves (or someone else!) by mistake.
  4. Extra tip: And lastly, just in case of emergency –
    • Inside the costume: Write your child’s name and the best phone number to reach you at.  Or, match the costume with a cool ID bracelet that has this same info.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!!

Don’t Let the Pumpkin Burn the House Down

Every year, fires during the holiday season (which we’re stretching from Halloween through New Year’s) cause around $930 million dollars in property damage. Take extra precautions by following these tips.

Holiday Decorations

  1. When we say ‘holiday’ we mean Halloween, Thanksgiving, religious holidays and New Year’s Eve.
  2. Consider using decor (artificial tree, scarecrow) that is labeled “flame resistant.”
  3. Do not place your tree, lit pumpkin or outdoor lights close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.
  4. Evergreens:
    • If you do use an evergreen, water it daily to keep it from drying out.
    • Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
  5. If you do use an evergreen, water it daily to keep it from drying out.
  6. Lights:
    • Make sure to inspect stringed lights and window ornaments annually for deterioration.
    • Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe.
    • Use lights in their designed areas. Don’t use ‘indoor’ lights outside.
    • Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
  7. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
  8. Don’t burn wrapping paper, candy wrappers, or boxes in your fireplace.
  9. For pumpkins, trees, outdoor decor and wreaths: Consider battery-operated candles instead of ‘real’ ones. Check out SmartCandle and Amazon.com, which has a slew of options.


  1. If you have a party with smokers, you should always check between sofa and chair pads because cigarettes, cigars and other items can drop down and smolder for hours before you even know the fire has started.
  2. Don’t smoke in bed or while sitting in furniture.
  3. Don’t leave burning cigarettes in an ashtray.
  4. Keep lighters and matches out of sight and reach from children.
  5. If you smoke outdoors, be sure to take in all ashtrays and cigarette butts so the wind does not blow the ashtray contents around your property.
  6. Make sure all butts have be extinguished before emptying the ashtrays.

The goal: Safety first, fun second.

– Susan

Quick Answers for Kids, Cold Weather, and the Holidays

Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Milwaukee – and the list of frozen states continues. 

We’re getting questions via phone about unplugged entertainment for kids since there’s no power and no school in much of the northern half of the country.

Solution: Here’s a good list of non-electric games and ideas for mom and dad.  We call it the Kids Emergency Entertainment Kit.

Another question we’re getting – ice dams.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, count yourself among the lucky.

Solution: Here’s info on Ice Dams: Prevention and Removal.

Holiday travel is always a bit dicey – moreso now with the crazy weather.  Lots of people are worried about their homes – are they secured?

Solution: Here are some tips from seasoned travelers on keeping your house safe and secure while you’re enjoying holiday travels.

Happy Holidays!


Holiday Toy Safety


Sarah and Linda – our “Baby Ladies” – are back again with another great post to help keep your holidays safe where toys are concerned.  Thanks to Sarah and Linda for the great tips on toy safety below.

So here are the top five toy hazards to be aware of

1. Scooters and other riding toys: Helmets & safety gear should fit and be worn at all times.

2. Small toys or toy parts that can fit through a toilet paper roll are choking hazards for children under three years.

3. Balloons: Children under 8 yrs. can choke on un-inflated or broken balloons.

4. Magnets: For children under 6 yrs. – avoid building or play sets with small magnets.

5. Chargers and adaptors can pose thermal burn hazards to children. Charging should be supervised by adults.

Once gifts are open, immediately discard plastic wrappings, keep big kid toys away from little ones, and read all instructions and warnings!

To stay up to date on children and infant recalls, visit our website at www.planning4baby.com.

We want to wish you all a happy holiday season!

Sarah & Linda

“The Baby Ladies”