Search YouTube and you’ll quickly find a hundred videos of cats jumping on Christmas trees and tearing them down. When a pet does it, it’s annoying (and a bit funny). But if your toddler gets to the tree, it can be scary. It’s easy to get so immersed in the busy season that you take your eyes off your little one for a split second, and that’s all it takes. You need a toddler proof Christmas tree.
Christmas is coming. Whether you’re super organized or last minute with your preparations, you cannot afford to rush putting up the tree without thought and planning. Toddler-proofing your Christmas tree might require replacing lots of those trimmings you have stored in the attic. But spending a little extra for your child’s safety is definitely worth it.
So, for peace of mind and a safer season, here are 7 essentials for a toddler proof Christmas tree …
1. Replace Those Glass Ornaments
Glass ornaments are beautiful, but they really are not suitable with young children around. Your toddler (or your cat or dog) only has to brush against the tree, and they can fall off and break. We all know how difficult it is to find every shard when something made of glass breaks. That’s especially true of glass baubles on your Christmas tree.
In order to toddler proof your Christmas tree, replace the glass ornaments with either shatterproof ones, or some other material that won’t break up into tiny, dangerous pieces if they fall.
Wooden decorations are a fun idea, and can help to achieve a warm and cozy design. Candy canes and wooden toy decorations transport you away to a cabin in the woods — and also won’t shatter all over the place!
And while we’re talking about the baubles …
2. Get Rid of the Wire Hooks
These are sold by the millions in the lead up to Christmas, but they probably should be banned. They are a choking hazard for small children, and they can also cause nasty scratches or even become embedded like fishhooks in a child’s skin.
And you don’t need them anyway. It’s just as easy to attach your decorations with string or ribbon. In fact, ribbon usually looks nicer when tied in a bow.
3. Secure Your Tree Properly
Probably the most important part of a toddler proof Christmas tree is to secure it well. A properly balanced and secured tree won’t topple on your curious child.
Securing your tree is best done in 3 steps:
Step A: Invest in a heavy stand.
There are a lot of cheaper ones on the market, but they are flimsy. They will drive you crazy even just trying to set them up, and they tend to get bent out of shape and unusable! But worse still, they cannot be relied upon to keep your tree upright and stable. Take our advice, buy a quality stand and you will have it for years to come.
Step B: Use a Christmas tree skirt.
You can get some really beautiful ones that enhance the tree’s decoration. (Check out Pinterest for ideas.) But they also serve a practical purpose. When laid over the stand they add further weight and stability. It’s another line of defense.
Step C: Add a “guyline”.
Lots of people skip this step, but it really makes a difference and will give you great peace of mind. And it’s not hard to do …
Purchase a ceiling hook — the kind that people use to hang plant pots. You can get them at Home Depot, or any store that sells gardening supplies. Fix the hook into a ceiling joist above the place where your tree will stand. Then use fishing line to secure the top of the tree to the hook.
4. Surround the Tree with a Baby Gate or Playpen
To play it really safe, place a child safety gate around the tree. This kind of takes a little of the fun out of watching your toddler admire the tree, because kids love to touch and examine things up close.
It’s definitely safer though!
5. Create a Decorative “Alarm System”
Silver bells are a beautiful Christmas tradition; there are even songs and stories about them. So, they are entirely in place on your tree, and (again) they can serve a practical purpose. Putting nice loud bells on your Christmas tree will mean that if little hands DO get too close, you’ll hopefully hear about it pretty quickly.
6. Put Presents Out on Christmas Eve
It may be your family’s tradition to collect presents under the tree as they are wrapped. This means there may be a pile of gifts under the tree for up to a couple of weeks. But with toddlers around, you’re just adding to the temptation. Colorful paper and bows will draw them like a magnet.
So, change your tradition, at least for those few years that you have toddlers in the house. Bring the presents out on Christmas Eve … and after the little ones are in bed. Watch the excitement on their faces Christmas morning when they see them for the first time.
7. Be Vigilant … Even WITH a Toddler Proof Christmas Tree
The very best way to toddler proof your Christmas tree is to simply never leave your toddler unattended in a room with a tree. All the other essentials we’ve mentioned are really just a backstop to this, recognizing that none of us parents are perfect. But ideally, our little ones won’t ever be near the tree alone.
Now, if you are a huge fan of Christmas and have twenty trees littered around the house, this is going to be a real challenge. If you just have one tree in the living room, you can simply close the door when you’re not in there.
It’s difficult to keep an eye on toddlers all of the time, but leaving your toddler alone with all of that delicious looking tinsel really isn’t a good idea!
Those are our 7 essentials for a toddler proof Christmas tree this holiday season.
If you have any other ideas to add, we’d love to hear about them! Share your ideas with others by leaving a comment below.
4 1 5 52 1