All the Trimmings: Real vs. Artificial Trees
Choosing the right Christmas tree for your family
Christmas Tree Safety
Regardless of what type of tree you choose, it’s sure to be fascinating to young children. As if having a tree in your home isn’t enough to pique kids’ curiosity, Christmas trees have glowing lights, shiny ornaments, and beribboned packages to entice a little one. All of this brings a dilemma for some families: How do we minimize potential for mishaps?
If you know that having a full-size Christmas tree is an invitation for disaster, this may be the year to opt for a smaller, decorative tree that you can place on a table out of your child’s reach.
If it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional tree, consider carefully the location of your tree. The tree should be kept away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources, and should not block foot traffic or doorways. If your tree’s yearly location is in your child’s main play space, you may want to relocate to a lesser-used part of the home. If you choose to keep the tree in a high-traffic area and know your little one won’t be able to resist the tree, you may opt to put a gate around the tree, place it in a playpen, or even anchor it to the wall with a support rope to keep curious tots from pulling it down.
Other safety measures include securing your tree in a wide, sturdy tree stand so your child won’t pull it over. Additionally, trim the tree’s lower branches to prevent pokes in the eye. Also be sure to keep your child from grabbing at branches (to help prevent the tree from falling).
Hang glass, fragile, and detachable ornaments far out of your child’s reach. Don’t hang popcorn garlands and candy canes on the tree if you have toddlers, since they may think other tree ornaments are edible, too. Parents should check under the tree frequently for fallen or broken ornaments and be sure to vacuum fallen needles.
If you choose to decorate your home’s tree with lights, use indoor lights only that carry the UL label. Check your lights each year for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections and replace any damaged light sets. Be sure to keep extension cords against the wall and away from children.
Have fun with whatever type of tree you choose, decorate carefully, and enjoy a safe, healthy holiday season!
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