C IS FOR child­proof­ing the tree

Living and Loving - - FAMILY INSPIRATION -

Set­ting up a five-foot pil­lar of pine in the cor­ner of your liv­ing room is a won­der­ful part of Christ­mas, but you’ll need to judge how best to child­proof your tree de­pend­ing on how mo­bile and bois­ter­ous your young­ster is. Con­sider get­ting a smaller ar­ti­fi­cial tree you can set up on a ta­ble, well out of reach. Could you put the tree in the hall­way, and keep the door shut to avoid un­su­per­vised ac­cess? Or in the din­ing room with a stair gate across the door­way? If the tree has to be in the thick of things, fence it off. An un­fold­ing play pen works well. Or, if your baby is crawl­ing but not climb­ing, try putting large boxes, weighed down with books placed in­side and wrapped in fes­tive pa­per, around the foot of the tree. Put the tree on a sturdy stand and test that it can’t be pulled over by yank­ing on the lower branches. Many moms swear by a wall hook and strong fish­ing line, too. Keep fairy lights fully out of reach. Wrap them tightly around the trunk or light only the top part of the tree. Newer lights will have higher safety stan­dards. Choose shat­ter­proof dec­o­ra­tions that are child-safe and hang them out of her reach. Use rib­bons rather than metal hooks to hang your dec­o­ra­tions. Avoid mistle­toe as it’s toxic and the leaves and berries of­ten fall off − even if it’s hung out of reach. Loop rib­bon through jumbo jin­gle bells that are large enough not to pose a chok­ing haz­ard and hang on the lower branches. If your tod­dler breaches your de­fences, they’ll act as a jin­gling alarm sys­tem. Be­ware Christ­mas novel­ties and dec­o­ra­tions made to ap­peal to chil­dren. There are strict le­gal re­quire­ments re­gard­ing toy safety, but not Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions. Check the small print on the la­bel − if it says “For use as a dec­o­ra­tion only”, “Keep out of the reach of chil­dren” or sim­i­lar, the item is not sub­ject to toy re­quire­ments. Even if it looks like it’s made for a child, don’t let her play with it.

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