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: The best Christmas days out for children:
November 30th - December 1st, 6th - 8th, 13th - 15th, 20th - 24th
With a sprinkle of LEGO magic, enjoy the feast of family activities at LEGOLAND this Christmas. From fun rides and attractions, Santa's Grotto, an elf workshop, LEGOLAND has everything for the best Christmas day out. There's even a giant 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 £31 for a day pass with under-twos free.
November 16th - December 24th
Who says you have to travel far to visit Lapland? 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.
Prices start from £65, it’s pricey but it's a truly magical experience.
November 21st - January 5th 2020 (closed Christmas Day)
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.
November 29th - December 22nd
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 is even a choir and band to provide extra special Christmassy atmosphere. This is one of our favourite contenders for the best Christmas days out for children.
Tickets cost £15 for adults; £7.50 for children aged 5-18; under 5's are free. Advance booking is essential.
November 30th - December 24th
Why not take a trip to the stunning, Welsh countryside that's home to some of Santa's helpers. The Reindeer lodge is a perfect festive getaway for all the family, with a Santa's grotto, new Elf stage show, festive fairground- and you can even meet the reindeer herd!
Tickets from £12.50 - £15.95 for adults; £15.95 - £18.95 for children.
November 16 - January 5th 2020
Celebrating it's 15th anniversary, Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland is back. Home to the North’s biggest ice rink, Winter Wonderland at York is handy for gift shopping and
enjoying some family festivities. With vintage fairground rides, loads of stalls and an Alpine café, you'll be in the heart of Christmas, surrounded by an illuminated ‘forest’ and a backdrop of festive carols.
Tickets cost £9.95 for children; £11.50 for adults. Family and group packages are available.
November 15th - December 31st
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!
Tickets from £13.95 each on saver days; £17.95 on normal days; under 2s go free.
November 16th - January 4th 2020
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.
Ticket pirces vary.
Starting November 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; £35 for a family of four.
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.
Tickets are £10 for adults; £10 for children; under 2s £6.
November 23rd - December 23rd
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.
Reduce rate tickets are adults for £28; children 3-13 years £30.25; 12-35 months £17.75; under 12 months £9.50