My daughter started crawling a few months before Christmas. She wasn’t an overly curious baby and was pretty content with her toys – or so I thought. I put the Christmas tree up decorating as per usual with little thought that my girl would even give it a second glance. It never occurred to me that you had to baby proof a Christmas tree.
On the second day of the tree being up, she was unusually quiet. I found her sitting beside the tree pulling off every one of the Christmas baubles within reach. She’d even managed to separate one of the metallic hooks from the baubles and was happily chewing on it. It was one of these little suckers:
Luckily I was able to fish the hooks out of her mouth and all was well. I was naïve to think she’d leave the Christmas tree alone. After all, it is not hard to figure out why the Christmas tree is so enticing to curious little people.
Here are some ideas to help you baby proof the Christmas tree – hopefully they will keep your tree intact and more importantly, your little one safe:
Put the tree behind baby gates/ inside a playpen. If you want to go fancy, you can buy fences and guards just for the Christmas tree.
Get a medium sized tree and place it up high on a table or anywhere out of reach.
A smaller, lighter tree is a better choice but if you do have a heavy tree, anchor it to the wall or ceiling so that little hands can’t pull it over.
If your tree is against your stairs, tie it to the rails of the stairs so that it cannot be pulled over.
Consider your decorations
Only put ornaments and Christmas lights on the upper branches. If you must put ornaments on the lower branches, make sure none of them have metal hooks. These hooks are a major choking hazard.
Ditch the traditional ornaments altogether and go for something completely different and kid friendly – such as these handprint reindeer ornaments. Alternatively you could decorate the tree with just red and green bows. But if you are going for store bought decorations, make sure they are shatter proof.
Skip the tinsel, at least on the lower branches as it is a choking hazard. You could use paper garlands instead.
Ditch the Christmas lights. If your baby manages to bite them while they are turned on, they could get an electric shock. They are also a strangulation risk.
Decorate the bottom of the tree with bells or any safe ornaments that make noise. That way if your little one gets up to mischief, you’ll have a heads up before they do too much damage to the tree or themselves. This work for cats too!
Opt for an artificial tree over the real deal. Not only are pine needles a choking hazard, they are also a pain to sweep up. If you must have a real tree, make sure it is as fresh as possible so it won’t start dropping pine needles as quickly.
With an artificial tree you could even just insert the top branches and decorate them.
Go for the half Christmas tree which is all the rage for small spaces.
While it’s nice to put the tree up in a central location where it can be seen all the time, you might want to relocate it to a room that your baby or toddler can’t get into.
Or you could box it in behind couches.
Don’t take away all the fun
Get your toddler their own small tree with some toddler safe ornaments. A felt Christmas tree with felt ornaments that they can take apart as often as they like is also a great idea and may mean they are less interested in the real thing.
If your kids are a bit older, get them involved in making a few decorations and putting them on the lower branches.
you could ditch the tree altogether. Check out these Youtube videos for some alternative Christmas tree inspiration:
You might also want to store the presents somewhere else to avoid them being ripped open. They can be placed under the tree on Christmas Eve.
Above all, remember this is just a phase and in a couple of years you can revert back to a beautifully decorated, ornate tree.
You might also like our baby proofing checklist for the rest of the house.