C IS FOR childproofing the tree
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.