By: Abby Billings
Each year we search for the best looking tree or lug it out of storage for assemble. We treat the ornaments that decorate it with care and make sure the lights all work. So, much time and effort goes into this tradition, but do we stop to think of the dangers to our kids?
This year keep your tree beautiful and kids’ safe with these 10 safety tips!
1) If possible put the tree in a room that can be cordoned off. This way the kids and dogs won’t be able to be around it without you there.
2) Make sure there is an active smoke detector in the room with your tree. Each year, lighting causes thousands of tree fires.
3) Have a fire extinguisher in the room near where you’d enter that room in case of fire.
4) Until about the age of 4 kids will most likely try to pull or grab ornaments on the tree. This can cause them to break, the tree to fall down on them, or the hook to be removed. To avoid this do not put ornaments on the bottom half of your tree. It will also protect your fur babies from the same issues. Use fishing line and attach the top of your tree to the wall by tying or creating a U with the line having the tree in the middle of the U. Then, tie the line multiple times around a screw making sure to wrap the line at least once around the screw. Insert the screw into an anchor (they are usually blue or white and found at most hardware stores) you’ve place into the wall behind the tree. It won’t make your tree climb worthy but will help as a preventative for smaller falls and at the least delay the fall a few extra seconds helping you to grab your child.
5) Ornament anchors, replace as many as possible with ribbon or string. These are choking hazards which, because they are hooks, get lodged in throats, mouths, or esophagus’s requiring surgery to remove. If stepped on, because they are metal, they also increase the need for potential ER trips to have removed and a tetanus shot given. Replacing them with pretty ribbons or string removes this issue.
6) Put a computer chair pad under your tree for easier needle clean up. Fur babies and human babies alike will try to taste the tree and the discarded leaves are easy targets, clean daily and never allow your child or pet unsupervised near your tree. While most conifers are edible they can make you sick from eating the needles which most likely have outdoor germs from animal feces, bugs, and that they aren’t meant to be eaten.
7) Lights aren’t just a fire hazard. When we place our lights they aren’t tightly woven around the tree. This means that a child or pet pulling on them can unravel them long enough to get wrapped up in. Getting tangled in lights means there are live wires wrapped around a part of your child or pet!!! To avoid this wrap only half your tree in lights and secure the cord to the wall along the tree in the back then along the floor to the plug with staples or any other means possible. This won’t stop all wire/plug issues, but can protect against many of them.
8) Flashing lights! Yes those blinking lights can be an issue. If your child is young or you’re pet hasn’t been around them before they may have a seizure disorder that you don’t know about. Flashing lights can trigger seizures. It is a good idea to just have normal steady lights to avoid this issue. Also, any guests you have with disorders will appreciate this. Another thing to think about is going to light viewing, keep a close eye on your children’s reactions as not all seizures cause shaking, some present as a dazed look where the persons brain is the thing seizing so they often look straight ahead, sometimes the eyes can look glazed over, and often have no recollection of that period of time.
9) Animals! If you are getting a real tree, even one’s from a tree yard, please check for animals! Birds, squirrels, other rodents are great hiders and love holes in trees! Check your tree for any holes and if you see one, get another tree, if you already have the tree cover the tree with a mesh wiring so nothing can come out of the tree. I don’t recommend ever putting your hand or something in the hole to check for an animal. You will just risk a bite and make it angry and scared! If you get bit immediately go for a rabies test and get the wound professionally cleaned in the ER!
10) Lastly, the tree topper! You are putting something on top of your tree that if shaken can fall creating an object with momentum striking your child or pet. Either use a topper made of fabric with no ceramic or metal and secure it to the tree by tying, taping, or using whatever you can think of to secure it to the top of your tree. If you must have a metal star, securely tape and tie it to your tree. Plus, take wax from your candles and create little balls to push on the ends of all tips of the star as added precaution. This won’t completely remove all risk, but it will increase the chances of preventing something from being much worse.
There are a lot of other dangers in that beautiful tree so be cautious when assembling and positioning your tree. Make sure to always have it supervised. And enjoy the holidays safely!
These tips are meant as preventative assistance and you can still have accidents, just remember caution is always key when it comes to the little elves and reindeers living in our house.