Babyproofing the Christmas Tree

Updated on December 02, 2008
D.S. asks from Holden, MA
26 answers

I'm just wondering what other moms have done to keep their toddlers away from the christmas tree. I haven't put mine up yet, but I am already anticipating that my 16 month old will be very curious about it and the more I try to keep him away from it, the more interested in it he will be. I'd prefer not to have to put a play yard around it, although I know that's a strong possibility. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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R.S.

answers from Providence on

I use a piece of string or wire & tie it around the tree, then anchor it to the wall with a small eye hook. This works great. If you have a heavier tree, just anchor the tree in two spots. Then I just put all non breakable ornaments on the bottom. This is something I did years before I had children to keep my cats from knocking it over. It works great. Happy holidays

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S.K.

answers from Providence on

I love the idea to anchor the tree to the wall - very good solution, with non breakable ornaments within reach (I'm going to do that this year even though my kids are a little older, this sounds very safe plus, we still have lots of little ones visiting!).

I have two VERY active children, and when they were 10 months at Christmas and also the following year, we simply bought a smaller tree and put it on a high table (28-32" off the ground). I was sad to have a smaller tree because I LOVE Christmas, but it worked really well. I put on a tree skirt by wrapping fabric loosely around the tree base and stand but not fastening it and keeping it on the table out of reach. Worked great and the tree still looked beautiful, esp. with all of the presents arranged under the table!

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S.M.

answers from Boston on

Both my boya were 12months and then 24 [email protected]____.com explained to them to not touch, but to blow on the ornaments. It really worked. Keep the soft and unbreakable ornaments on the bottom.

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M.F.

answers from Pittsfield on

Well D.
As long as you don't leave him/her alone in the room with the tree it shouldn't be a problem. Anchor it to the wall so it can't tip over if the branches get pulled on or shaken. Show your child its "picky" and he/she will probably not touch it again. Don't put glass bulbs/balls or light strings on the lowest branchs but have some nonbreakable items that he/she can touch an rearrange. I've used silk covered styrafoam balls, bells, little birds, and foam photo frames with pictures in them.

If he/she will absolutely not leave it alone then put up the play yard.
Hope this helped :)

1 mom found this helpful
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B.R.

answers from Boston on

I used a super gate playyard around the tree when my first was little. i already owned one but it came in handy for many things. Good luck and have a Merry Christmas : )

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K.T.

answers from Boston on

I agree with what the other ladies said about anchor it to the wall and dont put anything breakable down low. One other thing we had done when our first child was small was to put the tree up for the least amount of time possible. Rather than putting it up on 12/1, try putting it up 2 weeks or so before Xmas, it'll save you!!

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K.Q.

answers from Boston on

You can try putting one of those plastic baby gates around the tree, but they can get through those. I move an ottoman in front of mine. I knew someone who put the whole thing in an old play pen! But I would say, they will get at the tree no matter what, so decorate it accordingly. Nothing breakable, nothing small 1/2-way down, maybe even make paper chains or felt decorations this year. I make sure the ornaments at the bottom of the tree are child-friendly and my kids usually stick to playing with those. No hooks-- tie loops of ribbon or fishing line to the ornaments. And I use clear fishing wire to tie a line from the top of the tree to the two nearest walls so it doesn't topple. LED lights are supposed to be cool to the touch, but be careful of electric lights and children. Enjoy!

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J.E.

answers from Hartford on

We worried about this same thing. Our daughter was born a week before Christmas so it wasn't an issue until she was a year old. My husband and I put the tree up (it's artificial) and decorated it when she was asleep. Toddlers like to 'do' what they see others doing and we figured it would be best for her not to see us handling the ornaments. We watched her while she was near the tree and only told her 'no' and redirected her behavior if she touched the tree/ornaments. It worked, she knew not to touch even when we had gifts underneath.

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K.R.

answers from Portland on

I've been fretting about this myself. I have a Tasmanian devil of a 15 month old who gets into EVERYTHING. I've decided to get a table top tree and put it in a corner. Then I'm going to arrange the furniture so that she can't get to it. She's my 3rd...I've been at this a while and had toddlers for Christmas twice, whom I just told to "not touch" but I've never seen the likes of her!! :-)

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R.T.

answers from Boston on

My daughter is 18 months, and we are skipping a big tree this year. We are doing a small artificial tree, and wil go back to a real tree next year. For baby proofing, I would make sure all the cords for the lights are inaccessible, and I wouldn't use any of the glass globe ornaments in case they break. You could avoid putting anything you absolutely don't want her to touch in the part of the tree she can reach.

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J.G.

answers from New London on

All the other advice is great and Id follow it - but do NOT use OLD glass balls at all - they can contain lead paint. If they break it's worse than regular glass.

I put the tree on a 4x4 5 inch high platform and use a big tree skirt as a physical boundary (no stepping on tree skirt - can't get close enough to touch). It worked okay.

What I found worked really well - he has as very small artificial tree of his own with safe ornaments. He can play with that all he wants, but only look at mom & dad's tree (we let our son set aside toys that are too special to share - and we say our tree in too special to share).

I found putting trains under the tree actually helped - he was drawn to the trains more than the ornaments. I also put a small wind chime on the bottom branch so the train would just barely touch it. He loves making the train go by the wind chime and hearing the tinkling of the chimes. Also, the trains are mine and I make it seem like a very special treat for my son or husband to use them. This really helps keep most of the ornaments on the tree.

Most of all, enjoy the season and seeing the magic through your child's eye. Children see the beauty and magic in Christmas without needing to have a perfectly coiffed tree. In fewer years than your realize, your child will be a teen telling you how to properly decorate a tree (as teens know everything).

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L.W.

answers from Boston on

I dont blame you for not wanting to put a gate around it. My daughter was ten months her 1st xmas. Just dont put any breakable decorations on it that he can hurt himself on. No tinsel or garland, as he could choke on it. Of course he'll be curious. Let him touch it & see what its about. If you have a real tree i know theres different types that arent so prickly to the touch. If you're worried about him pulling the tree over, you can anchor it to the wall. We did that just as a precaution. Good luck & happy holidays!

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C.M.

answers from Boston on

I had thisproblam last yr. I bought a gate from baby r us. It was 65 dollar's. it is square and u can shape it any way u want to. It was so worth the money. and we did not put any breackable ornaments at her reach. Your tree may not lok the way you want but you wont be as stressed out with little hands grabbing things. Good luck Marry CHristmas

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J.E.

answers from Boston on

D.,

It may be a lot more easy than you anticipate. We've always just told our kids "no touch." Yes, they will be curious and maybe pull an ornament off or two at first, but we just kept being consistent and letting them know "no touch." We explained the tree is pretty etc. We just made such a big deal about the tree that they started to not want to touch the ornaments or other things on or under it...now our cats, that is still a work in progress :) Good luck.

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D.R.

answers from Hartford on

Hi, I am not an expert by any means but I had the same fear when my daugther was around that age. First and foremost, you will want to be sure that the tree is extremely secure in the base and even consider using clear twine to tie it to something solid nearby. My biggest fear was her pulling it down on top of her. We also did not put our glass angel on the top for a few years, using a cloth star instead. I then would put only the unbreakable ornaments in her reach (my girlfriend had twins and for those younger years, she only decorated from mid-tree up so that's an idea as well, it looked a little silly but it did the trick). I also got rid of those metal hooks to hang ornaments with and used ribbon instead. Michael's craft stores sells small ribbons already tied and you just loop them through the ornament hook. In the end after the initial excitement of the tree going up and me saying no touching 100 times, she grew bored in a day or two. It really turned out to be no big deal in the end. Hope this helps

D.B.

answers from Boston on

My sister-in-law convinced her kids that it was HOT from the lights! Worked like a charm.

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D.T.

answers from Boston on

What I did when my son was a young was.. I put ribbon around a bunch of his litte toys and hung them all over the tree, from the bottom, up to where he could reach. That way, it was ok for him to play with the "ornaments", you just have to be willing to pick them up and hang them again. It actually worked out great!!

Good Luck.

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C.B.

answers from Boston on

Hi D. - this may sound really simple, but when my daughter was a baby, we had a small tree on a table top. When she understood it better, we went back to the big one on the floor...

It's the same holiday, no matter the size of the tree! :-)

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A.C.

answers from Boston on

I tied mine to the wall (put a couple of cup hooks in the wall and then tie some twine around the tree and fasten it to the hooks). Plus I tried to put ornaments on the bottom that weren't fragile or a danger to my toddler. One year I had to put the baby gate up around it (not very pretty, but it worked!)

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M.F.

answers from Bangor on

We have enlisted our 3.5 year old son to make all of the Christmas tree decorations this year. In hopes that our 15 month olds can be curious and look, touch , feel but not in danger around the tree. Also, putting all cords in a tube so they can't pull on or bite them. Merry Christmas! M.

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K.G.

answers from Burlington on

Anchor the tree firmly so it CANNOT fall over.
No delicate, keepsake ornaments low.
Allow him to help hang some ornaments at his level, and explain that they are delicate :)
Keep the the wires towards the center of the tree so he can't reach the lights.
The Christmas tree is a magical thing, and I'm sure he will be fine with it. The branches will keep him from getting too curious :)
Enjoy!

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Its tough. This didn't 100% work, but it did help a lot. We choose to get a smaller tree and put it up high. We usually put it in an old wagon.

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K.D.

answers from Providence on

well over the last 13 yrs our tree has fallen over at least three times because of children all i can say you may only want to put unbreakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree and don't leave him alone with the tree you can use the playyard that is a good altenative or keep him in the playyard when near the tree unsupervised..... mother of 13 11 8 and 18mths K. d

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D.E.

answers from Boston on

Hi, happy holidays. What I did when my girls were little was to put "safe" ornaments on the bottom part. And, I gave them one ornament they could put on and take off all day long. It was a sock monkey ornament.
They are now almost 5 and 7. Last year, they took all the cute little ones off to play pretend with and I found them all year long all around the house!
C'est la vie...they are only little for a short while. :)
Enjoy every minute! :)D.

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R.K.

answers from Springfield on

Hi D.,
Anchor your tree to the wall when I was little my friends little brother knocked the tree down on himself he was fine. Don't put decorations that can break on the bottom of the tree and I know this year we will not be putting our train around the bottom because our little guy is completely fascinated w/ trains right now. He'll be drawn to the tree with out the help of a train. You will probably have to redirect your son away from the tree a few times but eventually it will lose interest like everything else.

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H.C.

answers from Boston on

In our house we also have 3 cats, so it is always an interesting time. We have non breakable items at the bottom and the nicer, breakable ones higher up. When the kids were small we tried to teach them to just point and say "oooh pretty" . Good luck and happy holidays.
H.

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