Mother and Baby

How to toddler-proof your Christmas tree

Section: Christmas
How to toddler-proof your Christmas tree

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.

Alison Brinkworth is the public health support officer for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and she sat down to talk to Mother & Baby about toddler-proofing that Christmas tree. 

How to toddler-proof your Christmas tree: 

  • Choose the right tree: ‘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. 
  • Put the tree somewhere out of reach: 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.
  • Look for baby-safe decorations: ‘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.’
  • Clean up quickly: 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 Allergy Balm, a barrier balm applied to the nostrils and safe for use from birth.

Read next: Our Christmas gift guide for babies 2017

Read next: Our Christmas gift guide for toddlers 2017

Read next: The best Christmas days out for children: 

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Tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centres

Want the best Christmas days out with children, but don’t want to travel too far? Visit your local garden centre! Until Christmas Eve, the whole family can take a festive tea or breakfast with Santa at Wyevale Garden Centres all over the country. Kids can decorate a festive cookie and receive a special gift from Father Christmas. Tickets are £9.99 for children and from £3.99 for adults. Or for £5, little ones can enter the magical Santa’s Grotto, meet the man himself and take home a gift. 
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The Ultimate LEGO® Christmas at the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

It’s a feast of family activity at LEGOLAND this Christmas. There are fun rides and attractions, Santa's Grotto, an elf workshop, giant 8m tall LEGO Christmas tree, a gifts market, scavenger hunt and the opportunity to work with other families to build a huge festive LEGO model in the park. Tickets are £30 for a day pass with under-twos free. 

Staying longer than a day? Book your stay at LEGOLAND Windsor on
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Lapland UK, Berkshire

Like the real Lapland… but without the flight and freezing cold weather. This really is one of the best Christmas days out for children. It’s a Christmas festival, with elves introducing little ones to reindeer and weaving stories of their work in Santa’s grotto. And talking of which, kids can visit Santa and take home a signed photo of themselves with him, plus make gingerbread men, build toys together and receive a little gift. There’s also ice-skating and a log cabin restaurant. It’s pricey at from £65 per person but a truly magical experience. 

Fancy staying a little longer? Book a Christmas getaway at Lapland UK on
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Christmas breakfasts with festive friends at Jump Nation arenas

If your little ones love a good bounce on a trampoline, take them to the special Christmas breakfasts at the three Jump Nation arenas in Birmingham, Manchester and Runcorn. There will be special visits from Frozen’s Elsa and Olaf as well as the chance to bounce with some mischievous elves to Christmas songs. Plus there’s breakfast of fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts and bacon sandwiches served by Santa’s little helpers. Tickets are £11.95 each. 
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Winter Wonderland, London

There’s so much to do at London's Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, you’ll be spoilt for choice (and you may well bump into a few celebs too). Expect ice kingdoms and fairground rides, Santa Land, German-style markets, a circus and an enormous ice rink, plus loads of food and drink options. The attraction itself is free but tickets are needed for ice skating, the circus, rides and the ice bar. Winter Wonderland opens on Friday 17 November 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018.
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Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland

Home to the North’s biggest ice rink, Winter Wonderland – at the York Designer Outlet, so handy for gift shopping! – has some lovely vintage fairground rides, loads of stalls and an Alpine café, all surrounded by an illuminated ‘forest’, to a backdrop of festive carols and family Christmas songs. Tickets cost £9.95 for kids, £10.95 for adults, plus family and group packages are available. Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland is open from Saturday 18th November 2017- Sunday 7th January 2018.
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Enchanted Forest, Gloucestershire

Westonbirt Arboretum goes all-out in December, decorating the trees with thousands of twinkling lights, forming a mile-long illuminated walkway that looks amazing. Santa and his reindeers are on hand to meet the children and there are choirs and a band to provide extra special Christmassy atmosphere. This is one of our favourite contenders for the best Christmas days out for children. The trail opens at 5pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout December. Adults cost £12, tickets for children aged 5-18 are £6, children aged under 5 get in free (advance booking is essential).
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Edinburgh’s Christmas

Christmas takes over the city of Edinburgh in much the same way the comedy festival does in the summer. There’s everything from street performers and festive shows in the theatres to an ice rink, Children's Market, rides, attractions and fireworks. Tickets vary. 

Book a Christmas stay in Edinburgh on
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Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland

Open until January 7th, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland is right in the heart of the city so you can make an evening of it with shopping before fun at the ice-skating rink, Alpine village selling yummy food from German sausages to crepes, funfair rides and attractions. For parents, there’s even some 'Apres Skate' at the Bierkeller Bar where they can sample the mulled wine. Tickets are £11 for adults, £9 for children (3- 15 years old) and £35 for a family of four. 

Book your Christmas stay in Cardiff on
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Winter Wonderland, Shopshire

Santa and his elves are living in a log cabin in Telford! As well as visiting them, your toddler can meet real reindeers Dancer and Prancer, pop into Geppetto’s Christmas toy shop, and take a spin on the carousel and sleigh ride. Adults £8.50; children £10.95; under 2s £7.50; OAPs £8.
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Peppa Pig World & Santa’s Christmas Wonderland, Hampshire

Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park is having a festive makeover, making it perfect for the best Christmas days out for Children. The highlight is sure to be seeing Peppa and George wrapped up in their winter hats and scarves, although we can’t guarantee there will be snow! There will be a 4D sleigh ride, and a musical Christmas tree. Adults £28.75; children 3-13 years £28.75; 12-35 months £22.25; under 12 months £6.

Book an overnight stay near Peppa Pig World on
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Santa’s Winter Wonderland, The Snow Dome, Tamworth

As you can never rely on the great British weather to provide a white Christmas, a trip to the Snow Dome means that the fun of snow is guaranteed! Explore the Christmas Snow Trail which features sledge rides, snow tubes and enchanted forests! £13.95 each on saver days, £17.95 on normal days; under 2s go free. 
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Blithbury Reindeer Lodge, Staffordshire

Home to England’s largest reindeer herd, Blithbury Reindeer Lodge is a magical place to take the kids before Christmas. As well as feeding the reindeer, you can enrol yourself in Elf School where you learn how Santa trains his reindeer and how to decorate gingerbread men – rumour has it Santa himself often pops in to say hello! Adult: £17; child (1-12): £23; under 12months: free.

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