Friday, December 11, 2009

How to Childproof a Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree - a source of joy and wonderment for parents and kids alike. But we know what kids are like around anything that's shiny, dangling or colourful. When you say, "Don't touch it. It's hot.", what they hear is, "Go on touch it. It's mighty fun." Ahh, children. We, as adults should know better than to tempt them so, or at least learn to childproof the Christmas tree. Have a safe Christmas!

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Christmas is heaven for children but it can be hell on parents and other adults. Ease your mind - and safeguard the kids in your life - by preventing problems before they happen.

Assess your child realistically. How old is she? How far can she reach? (from the floor? from the couch?) How high can she jump, when she really tries (and is she likely to)? Is she old enough to understand words like "no," "hot" and "sharp" and the concepts behind them?


Place the tree in the safest spot you can find - a corner works well (it works even better if you can move any furniture your child might be tempted to use as a stepladder to a safe distance).


Move all breakable ornaments (and any unbreakable ones you think your child might be tempted to eat) higher up the tree than you think your child can reach.


Move them a bit higher.


Remove any particularly valuable or prized fragile ornaments and use them somewhere safely out of reach (to decorate the mantelpiece, for example).


Tie the tree securely to a wall, column, or heavy piece of furniture if you think there's a danger that your child will jump on it, climb it, hang on it or otherwise manhandle it (this is not a bad idea in earthquake country anyway).


Use bricks or cinder blocks to weigh down the legs of the tree stand.


Don't forget to check the outlet - a shield should be available for times when the tree's not plugged in.