Childproofing your Christmas tree
Ensuring your baby or toddler is safe in your house is difficult enough when you have pot plants, electric sockets and stairs to contend with.
Add a Christmas tree to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Little children especially love to pull at decorations and play with the lights – all of which could make the tree fall over.
So how do you childproof your tree? Goodstart Early Learning’s national safe work and wellbeing manager Kylie Warren-Wright said putting the tree up inside a playpen was a good idea.
“Put the tree up inside a playpen or build a small barrier around it with some toy chests or other low stable furniture they can balance against,” Ms Warren-Wright said.
“If your baby is not at the stage where they’re pulling themselves up on furniture, you could also use a portable clothes drying rack folded into an L shape to create a boundary and then weave cardboard through the gaps.
“However, if they are still learning to stand or climb and will use the clothes rack to balance, don’t use this option.”
She suggested putting lights and expensive decorations out of reach, using paper decorations on the bottom of the tree, and putting other decorations such as tinsel or pine cones throughout the house.
Christmas tree tips for parents
- Install a physical barrier with items such as toy chests or other low stable furniture.
- Put glass and expensive decorations at the top of the tree.
- Use paper or large plastic decorations on the bottom of the tree. Make sure that they don’t have anything on them that can be pulled or bitten off easily if your little person decides to munch on them.
- Teach your child not to touch the decorations.
- Rather than a Christmas tree, put up other decorations throughout the house, including some safe ones at the child’s level. Tinsel or pine cones are great for a sensory experience.
- Get the children to help decorate the tree so that they feel ownership of it and won’t want to destroy it.
- Buy a small tree and put it out of reach.
- Buy a second small tree so they can play with it and change the decorations. You could have a box of special decorations just for them.
- Secure the tree to the roof by using ceiling hooks and fishing line. You can also do this the back of the tree. And put it up away from couches or chair that could be used as ladders. Put some weight in the base so it doesn’t fall over easily.
- If you really want to make an impact, hang the tree or a large branch from the ceiling so the children can’t reach it. Make sure hooks are secured properly.
- If you’re buying a new tree consider getting one with fibre optic lights so there aren’t any bulbs to grab onto. If your child loves lights, why not hang some in their room or outside their window so they can see them while lying in their bed or cot. Remember to put lights out of reach because they can be a choking hazard.
- Make a tree out of cardboard or PDF timber and stick it to the wall. You can then paint it with your child and decorate it together. Homemade decorations are always fun to make.