Christmas Tree Safety Tips Parents Will Want To Know This Year

Fall is coming to an end and you can feel the air outside becoming cooler. The days are shorter and the there's an anticipation in the air for the upcoming season. Easily one of the most favorite holidays the world over, Christmas almost always sneaks up on you when you're busy going about your life and, each year, there's that exclamation of, "Look how fast this year went!" 

The Yuletide season never fails to put a smile on your face. You might be already creating a mental list of the people you're going to buy presents for this year, and maybe you're even thinking about what kind of tree you're going to bring home. After all, it's never too early to start decorating for Christmas, right?

While all of these plans might be cause for jubilation for most families, for households with young children, the preparations might be cause for stress, per Fatherly. It certainly doesn't help that the U.S. fire department reported 160 Christmas tree-related house fires from the years 2014-2018 (via National Fire Protection Association). Did you become new parents this year? Or are you deciding to put up a tree for the first time since you had your little ones? Do you have to cancel Christmas if you have toddlers at home? Certainly not. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while you go about decorating your Christmas tree this year. 

Choosing the right kind of tree

The first tip to remember is to keep your newly bought tree outside the house until you're prepared to decorate it, per My Kids Time. There's no need to start dropping needles (in the case of a natural tree) inside the house until you absolutely have to. You can examine the needles and check for how sturdy they are before you buy the tree. 

If you choose to go with the natural tree option, make sure you buy the freshest one possible, so you reduce the chances of accidental fires, reports HuffPost. Keep your Christmas tree fresh for longer by watering it often and by keeping the stand clean. It also helps to snip about 1 inch off the base of the tree so it soaks up water better. Position your tree in such a way that it's firmly planted in the stand and keep it a safe distance (usually 3 feet away) from any fire sources — candles, fireplace, lights, etc. (via the National Fire Protection Association). You can even steady the tree with rope. For an added layer of safety, cordon off the Christmas tree area with a baby gate (via Parents) or a more festive option of large attractively wrapped boxes that would act as a barricade, per Today's Parent.

If you're thinking artificial trees might be safer, you might be right, but make sure you purchase one that's fire-proof.

How to decorate your tree so it's toddler-proof

Little children are eager to hold shiny objects in their hands and often shove them in their mouths (via Fatherly). It doesn't help that some ornaments look like food. All of this creates a naturally tense environment for parents. When it's time to decorate your tree, a tip to remember is to put ornaments that are pricy, fragile, and mean a lot to you higher up so your toddlers won't have access to them, per Parents. It might also be wise to avoid tinsels, decorations that have lead or tiny components to them, and toxic plants like mistletoe, reports Childhood Preparedness

Christmas lights are another big safety concern for parents. Take care to purchase good quality, safety-proofed lights that won't use up too much energy, and make sure you switch them off when you go to bed and when you leave the house, per HuffPost. While stringing Christmas tree lights on your tree, pay attention to where the cords are placed. Real candles on a tree (whether artificial or natural) are a big no, according to My Kids Time. If you want the feel of candles in your home, opt for flameless options instead.

The Yuletide season is for relaxation as much as it is for activity, so if you feel like a Christmas tree with toddlers is only going cause more stress, there's no shame in skipping the entire thing this year.