O Christmas Tree! Safety Tips for Families with Small Children
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Christmas time can be an exciting one for families with small children. But, it can be full of mishaps because small children are, well, small. They’re inquisitive. They want to explore their world. They want to get into stuff. And boy, is that Christmas tree an enticing thing to explore. As parents we can fight it or we can roll with, looking for ways to make Christmas safe and fun with our young children.
Here are some tips to help your children and your Christmas tree co-exist peacefully:
- If you purchase a live tree, make sure that it is secure in its stand. If you are in doubt, you can tether it to the wall with some fishing wire and a hook. Having the tree topple is no fun, especially with young kids about.
- Consider using unbreakable ornaments while your children are small. It’s only a few years to “sacrifice,” yet the worry and potential danger often outweigh any imposition or loss of style.
- Families with crawlers, toddlers, and preschoolers might want to consider a table top tree. We have done this 10 of the last 12 years. With a smaller tree, placed out of a child’s reach, we’ve reduced the amount of un-decorating, broken ornaments, and tree climbing.
- Check that your lights work properly and that there are no loose wires. Lights are cheap, especially after Christmas. If you think you need to replace some, please do. Pick up a few boxes at after-Christmas sales so that next year you are prepared to replace weary sets.
- Keep that tree watered! The US Fire Administration has helpful information about Christmas Tree fires. We like watering the tree with ice cubes as the ice melts quickly and doesn’t “spill.” Young children can easily help with the task
- Use common sense. If there’s a kid out there who can discover some new dangerous trick, it’s either yours or mine. Keep your children supervised around the Christmas tree, holiday lights, and candles.
what Christmas decorations?? (just kidding). 🙂
With a 4 yr. old (he's doing pretty good), a 2 yr. old and a 1 yr. old, there's a reason the bottom half of the tree is bare!
Also, I just am trying to really be consistent about enforcing "no touch." We've had a few ornaments break already; fortunately, I or my husband are always right there and can remove the child and clean it up right away.
The rest of the decorations are not as extensive as I would like, but I can go for the Southern Living Christmas look in a few years I suppose 🙂 Right now is the "baby in the house" look. 🙂
Congrats on the award by the way!
When I was growing up, my parents always had a baby gate that went all the way around the tree and presents. That was as much to keep the dogs away from the tree as it was to keep us out of the presents.
This year, my daughter is 10 months old and already walking. We opted not to have a tree. We are also leaving for the actual holiday and will be with my in-laws for two weeks, who will have a tree, so I don't feel like she is missing out. We will probably go table top for the next few years though, as we are expecting our second child in May.
I've gotten very lucky. My almost 2-year-old doesn't usually touch our tree. If she does she only touches the cheap ornaments I bought for her to put on. My son is too little (5 months) to get into it yet. We'll see how next year goes though!!
Thank you for this article, it so important to "baby proof" for the holidays. With a 13mth old and a 2yr. old, I knew they would destroy my tree. We opted to put our tree in a sort of unusual place this year. We put it in the kitchen over our paladium window. I didn't like the idea at first, but it looks beautiful. The kitchen is blocked off from the kids all day, and the only time they are in there is to eat, so they are supervised whenever they are around the tree. As for the stockings, they are taped to the mantle. With little ones, you do what you have to do to ensure their safety.
Do not hang the stockings until Christmas Eve, little hands pulling on a stocking send many small kids to the ER for stitches when the stocking holder comes down and whacks them in the head.
My biggest safety rec is to get a *real* tree stand – none of those cheap plastic ones that you have to fight with for an hour to get it to stand up. We use this stand: http://xmas911.com/ and I've never worried about the kids pulling it over or it falling, even with our super huge tree.
Of course, now that I say that, it will fall. 🙂
We opted for the table top tree this year. Oh well, at least it's live! And our little one loves to look at it!
If necessary you can also use your kiddos play-yard to surround the tree and remove it for any "official" gatherings!
Also, a little sugar in the water for the tree is supposed to help it last longer (not dry out as fast).