We all want to keep Christmas merry and bright. And mostly injury-free. So before your little one starts crawling toward the tree and eyeing the tinsel, you should consider taking a few extra precautions.
Here’s what to do when setting up the Christmas tree this year. These simple steps will keep everyone a little safer, including you and the pets!
1. Keep It Fresh
If you’re all about having a real spruce or pine, select a fresh tree to lower the risk of a tree fire. Make sure to water it daily so it doesn’t dry out. Be sure to use water. Homemade or store-bought preservatives can be danger if a child or pet decides to take a sip of what’s under the tree. Plus, the fresher the tree, the less likely the needles will fall off (another choking hazard). If you buy a synthetic tree, be sure it’s fire resistant.
2. Prevent The Possibility Of A Fire
This is a big one. In addition to the tips above, make sure your tree—real or fake—is far away from fireplaces and space heaters. An then, though we know lights can be a pain and expensive to replace, inspect your lights for frayed wiring. Set a good example by turning off the tree lights before leaving your home, and also before going to bed. And possibly the hardest rule to follow: Don’t overload the extension cords! Santa is counting! While Christmas tree fires are uncommon, they do spread fast. Watch this video from the National Fire Protection Association. See how fast the dry tree burns compared to the tree watered properly?
3. Eliminate Choking Hazards
Infants—and some toddlers—will put just about anything you might find on a Christmas tree into their mouths, so Christmas in general is a choking hazard. Although it’s difficult to keep sentimental ornaments boxed away, one thing you can do (at least temporarily) is exclude ornaments from the tree and use ribbons and bows to decorate. That way, it’s harder for children to grab anything from off the tree. If you can’t go completely without, however, keep the smaller and more fragile ornaments at the top of the tree. If a decoration can fit into their mouths, make sure it’s placed high enough to ensure they can’t reach it.
4. Build A Barrier Around The Tree
Ornaments or not, kids are bound to grab and pull branches and lights. That means the tree could topple over at any second! To avoid this, some folks go all out in childproofing the tree, even going so far as to create barriers between child and tree. You can keep it simple by just surrounding the tree with baby gates. Problem solved!
I’ve seen some people suggest skipping the tree until the kids are old enough to know they shouldn’t eat glass. Some might say, “Humbug!” but it’s always an option.