How to Toddlerproof Your Christmas Tree
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Christmas with kids…finally! The magic of the season is upon you with Santa visits, advent calendars, cookie baking, and more! But you may be wondering: Is it safe to put the Christmas tree up with a toddler? How do I babyproof my Christmas tree? Will Santa still come if I skip the tree this year?? The answers: It can be, we’ll show you, and of course! Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your tyke (and all your ornaments!) safe this holiday season.
Barricade the tree.
Use an expandable, free-standing baby gate (even kennel fencing) to put around your tree. This may not be the most attractive way to toddler-proof your Christmas tree, but it works! A more festive solution: Surround your tree with heavy decoy presents (fill old delivery boxes with books), just know that your bub may tear them open!
Rethink your tree placement.
While you may have always imagined your glorious Christmas tree standing tall in the living room, you might want to reconsider if there’s no way to block off the room. You could place a small tree on an elevated surface. Or, if your den or dining room has a doorway, think about putting your tree up in there. This way, you can shut the door or put up a baby gate and call it a day! PS: Keep the Christmas tree away from fireplaces, radiators, or portable heaters. And never block an exit with your tree!
Top load your tree.
Protect your toddler—and your most cherished Christmas ornaments—by only hanging precious or breakable items on higher branches, out of reach from tiny hands. Do the same for any vintage ornaments, too, since there’s a possibility they may contain lead. You cold also bench those items for the year and exclusively decorate with kid-safe ornaments until your little one is a little older.
Stabilize your Christmas tree.
To help prevent any catastrophe timber situations, always use a very sturdy Christmas tree stand, like the Krinner Tree Genie XXL tree stand, which has been The New York Times number one tree stand for a decade. Also, erect your Christmas tree in a spot where, if it were to tragically fall, it would not cause even bigger issues…which means away from the fireplace and large windows.
Ditch dangerous decorations.
While it’s a no-brainer that glass and other breakable Christmas ornaments can pose a big-ol risk to your curious toddler, there are other holiday decorations that should be avoided for your child’s safety, like:
Mistletoe and holly: These plants are toxic if eaten, so keep them off the tree—and out of the house! (Jerusalem cherry plants, aka Christmas or winter cherry plants and amaryllis are also dangerous.)
Bubble lights: Bubble lights are often candle-shaped glass and the blub, blub of the bubbling movement is virtually irresistible to curious kiddos, tempting toddlers to break the glass! That’s dangerous for a few reasons, including the fact that these lights contain a chemical that’s harmful if accidentally swallowed or if it gets on skin.
Snow sprays: While spray snow is safe when dry, it’s hazardous if your child accidentally inhales the powder.
Tinsel and angel hair: Both can be a choking hazard for small children. Plus, angel hair can be made out of finely cut fiberglass, which can cause irritation, redness, even pain to little ones
Ornaments with small parts: Since these could be a choking hazard, treat them the same as your precious and breakable ones!
Ornaments that look like food. Store your glass candy canes, your traditional pickle ornament, and sparkly gingerbread until your tot is old enough not to try and eat your foodie holiday decor!
Popcorn garlands. Popcorn is one of the highest-choking-risk foods (in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises avoiding it until at least 4 years old), so your edible garland could be dangerous if any popcorn comes loose.
While Christmas tree needles aren’t poisonous if your toddler decides to gobble a few up, they may cause stomach upset and/or mouth or throat irritation. Fallen tree needles may also be a choking concern, so it’s smart to vacuum tree needles that have landed on the floor or the tree skirt daily.
Replace ornament hooks.
If you are used to using metal or plastic hooks to help hang your Christmas ornaments, it’s the year to break that habit! These hooks are choking hazards and somehow always manage to land on the floor. It’s far safer to hang each bauble and trinket with a short ribbon or an ornament anchor, which clamps each ornament directly onto the branch.
Hide the presents.
It’s a good idea to refrain from placing your beautifully wrapped gifts under your tree until the big day. All the color and ribbons and fun are far too tempting for toddlers. They are going to want to tear open each and every package! Remember, toddlers are little cave kids, and their brains are bursting with impulsivity at this age.
Consider a tree alternative.
Yes, Virginia, Santa will come even if you don’t have a traditional Christmas tree! If you’re game to go tree-free this year, here are some festive, kid-safe alternatives:
Felt Christmas Tree: Hang a felt Christmas tree on the wall and have your child decorate (and redecorate) it with easy-to-stick felt ornaments.
Wrapping Paper Christmas Tree: Cut your loveliest wrapping paper into the shape of an isosceles triangle (the tall, pointy kind) and secure it to your wall with some double-sided tape. Outline with ribbon and place gift bows at each angle for added oomph.
Garland Christmas Tree: Grab a few temporary sticky hooks and string some festive garland on the wall in the shape of a tree. You can even hang some non-breakable ornaments from your “tree,” too.
Chalkboard Christmas Tree: Already have a chalkboard wall? Simply draw a holiday tree and decorations! Give it a super-cool 3D effect by taping yarn garland on as well.
Tree Card Display: Cut a sheet of plywood into the shape of a Christmas tree and use upholstery tacks and some 12-gauge wire to create a fun (and flat) way to display your holiday cards and enjoy a unique tree this season. Be sure to anchor your creation to the wall. (Here are the how-tos.)
More Holiday Help:
- 6 Sleep Tips for Holiday Travel
- Holiday Books to Get Kids in the Spirit of the Season
- The Happiest Holiday Toy Guide for Babies and Toddlers
- Is Lying About Santa Naughty or Nice?
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.