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How to Child-Proof Your Christmas Tree

Kids love Christmas. The anticipation of Santa Claus, sweets, and presents create a whirlwind of excitement, and sometimes that whirlwind comes a little too close to the Christmas tree. Itís necessary to ensure that both tree and children are safe! Here are some helpful tips to make your Christmas tree child-proof this holiday season.

Age matters!

Itís important to take into consideration your childrenís ages when choosing and decorating your Christmas tree. This means you need to know what your children can do based on their age, height, and the extent of their physical abilities. For example, until babies can crawl, you donít need to worry about them around the tree. So for infants, just keep the crib away from the tree (in case it falls over) and youíre fine.

However, crawling babies and toddlers are easily entranced by the tree and its colorful ornaments. They try to grab the ornaments, Christmas lights, or any interesting trimmings. Donít underestimate them! Their height can sometimes be deceiving because they will jump and reach up on tippy-toes just to get what they want. So always err on the side of caution since you canít keep your eye on them all the time.

Pre-schoolers are another matter. Since they already know what they should and shouldnít do, you wonít need to enforce extra precautions to prevent them from damaging the tree or themselves.

Choose the right tree

The first thing to do is choose the best tree for your family. With toddlers and kids around, artificial Christmas trees are the best options. Aside from being less of a fire hazard, they donít shed needles that may be picked up and swallowed by little ones. If you still want a natural Christmas tree, get the freshest one available since these shed less needles than those that have been harvested for some time. You can also get a smaller tree or one that can be mounted on a higher surface, like tabletop trees, to keep them out of reach of children. Just make sure that mounted trees really cannot be reached by determined toddlers.

Spot THE spot

It would be great to have that majestic tree at the center of the room to display its splendor, but this would most likely spell disaster if you have kids in your home. Before starting your tree decorating, find the best spot in your home where the tree can safely showcase its grandeur.

Corners are your best friend in this respect, because the walls provide a semi-shield around your tree. Keep furniture away from the tree, which kids may clamber on to reach ornaments or tree branches. You can also opt to surround it with baby gates; if youíre worried this would be unsightly, then decorate it with simple holiday trimmings to match the tree!

Once youíve chosen the best spot, secure your tree further to prevent it from falling over. Tie it to the wall or to sturdy furniture, such as a large cabinet or divider. Another trick is to weigh down the legs of the tree stand or screw it to the floor.

Decorate for beauty and safety

Although we can only show off keepsake ornaments once a year, itís best to keep breakable and fragile ornaments away from the tree. Our article on other decorative uses for Christmas ornaments shows creative ways you can display these precious ornaments while keeping them away from a curious childís hands.

Here are some tips on decorating for beauty and safety.

  • Select plastic ornaments that are large enough not to be a choking hazard and that donít shed trimmings glitter or tinsel.
  • Tie your ornaments securely to the tree branches so they donít easily fall or be plucked away.
  • Place Christmas lights and cords deeper in the branches and avoid decorating the lower branches they can reach.
  • Better yet, keep your tree decorating simple! This is a great reason to buy one of the non-traditional colorful trees to have a vibrant tree even with minimal ornaments.
  • Shield the outlet for Christmas lights and keep it covered from your childís prying fingers.
  • Tape down the loose cords and cover the base of the Christmas tree with a tree skirt for more protection.

Keep these things in mind and you can have a marvelously decorated tree, even with kids and toddlers around! And to give kids the fun of handling your twinkling ornaments, keep ornaments and other Christmas trinkets in a basket near the tree so their curiosity can be satisfied minus the damage.

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