Decorating your home, in particular the tree, is a Christmas treat. But now you have a child, you need to be extra aware of safety.
MEET THE EXPERT: Alison Brinkworth is the public health support officer for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
‘While your children are very young, it’s best to choose an artificial tree – no danger from needles – that’s small enough to be placed out of reach,’ says Alison.
If you’d prefer a real tree, fence it off with a playpen, or place it out of the main living area, perhaps in a porch. Make sure there’s no climbable furniture nearby. When decorating your tree, put lights and smaller decorations higher up, and avoid anything glass or ceramic.
‘Be aware of choking risks too,’ continues Alison. ‘Novelties and decorations don’t have to comply with toy-safety regulations, even if they look like toys, and can often have small parts which children can easily choke on.’
Quickly dispose of packaging, particularly plastic tags and ties that toys often come fastened with. Give toys a once-over for any small parts before handing them to your tot.
What to do if your baby eats pine needles
‘Don’t panic!’ says Dr Tim Ubhi, clinical director at The Children’s e-Hospital. ‘If she’s swallowed a few but is otherwise behaving normally, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. The only real risk is if the needles get stuck. If she starts coughing aggressively or shows signs of choking, get her checked out by a doctor or go to A&E.’
What is Christmas Tree Syndrome?
If your little one starts to sneeze over Christmas, he could be suffering from Christmas Tree Syndrome. If you have a real Christmas tree, the bark can harbour pollen grains and mould, which can trigger an allergic reaction. In the UK, 35% of people suffer from an increase of hay-fever-like symptoms at Christmas.
To ease symptoms, hose down the tree and allow to dry before you bring it into the house. You can also try HayMax Pure (£6.99, boots.com), a barrier balm applied to the nostrils and safe for use from birth.