I love having house guests. I'm blessed with the kind of family you sincerely want to have at your house at the holidays. Having the time to rest and catch up with them is one of the best parts of December.
We all know we should clean up the house and stock up the fridge when family visit. But it can be easy to forget that child-proofing the house might be needed before a visit, especially if you don't have children, or if your children are older.
The big things always need to be remembered - locking your pool fence, keeping little ones away from the stove, making sure your driveway is clear before you jump in the car for another gallon of milk.
The little things are the items that we can easily overlook, or assume we can ignore for a short visit. Take the risk of a poisoning. Did you know that a parent or grandparent's purse is one of the most common places for children to find dangerous items, like prescription pills? That's easy enough to fix - keep purses out of reach. Clear a shelf on a closet or in a cabinet and your guests will be happy to comply.
Having guests forces me to clean up the house, and when they leave I'm always glad it's done (before they come, some grumbling has been heard). Those products that help you make the house sparkle can also be dangerous to children. Move bleaches, window cleaner, furniture polish and other chemicals out of reach, or use child-proof locks on the cabinets where they are kept.
Gloating about our beautiful winter weather is a favorite pastime when I speak to friends in the coldest parts of the country (they pay me back in the summer).
Of course we spend lots of time outside when we have guests, and items that we all have in our garage might be overlooked as hazards. But heavy and sharp tools, garden supplies, and pool chemicals should be kept away from visiting toddlers.
Instead, pop a helmet on them and ride bikes to your local park. Snap a picture and let the gloating texts begin!
Finally, Murphy's Law applied on Thanksgiving, when my son came down with a cold the night before the holiday.
Now that my children are no longer toddlers, I don't rush to put cold medicines and humidifiers away immediately, but if I'm lucky enough to have family with toddlers for a visit, I'll have to take a moment to do these things.
It is a little extra work to childproof your home. But I remember what it was like when I was a guest when my children were toddlers, and the extra effort you take is a much-appreciated way to show that you care.
For more information about keeping your children safe, visit www.phoenixchildrens.com or call the Injury Prevention Center at (602) 933-0960.
• Tiffaney Isaacson is the injury prevention coordinator at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Reach her at (602) 546-1712.