Keep your toddler safe this holiday season by keeping the Christmas tree out of reach of curious hands.

Christmas Tree Hazards for Toddlers

by Felicia Nelson

Christmas is a festive time of year filled with the smell of baking pie, twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and snow silently blanketing the yards and roads. All of those lights and tinsel on the Christmas tree may have your toddler's fingers roaming where they shouldn't be. So how do you keep your toddler safe without becoming a Scrooge and forgoing the tree altogether? Inform yourself about the potential hazards of Christmas trees and learn what you can do to keep your child safe and happy during the holiday season.

1. Ornaments and Tinsel

Sparkly ornaments and shiny tinsel are sure to catch your toddler's eye (and fingers) this holiday season. Some ornaments are coated in glue and sparkles that can get lodged in your toddler's eyes or nose. Other ornaments have pointy edges or are made of glass that can potentially crack and slice open your child's fingers. Consider every ornament a choking hazard to your toddler. If your child just can't keep her fingers off the ornaments, consider investing in a flexible baby gate and put it around your tree to keep your toddler just out of arm's reach of trouble.

2. Christmas Tree Lights

Most Christmas tree lights are electric, which means that they can be a potential fire hazard to your toddler as well as your home. Toddlers have a habit of putting anything and everything into their mouths. If a toddler were to bite a light on the tree, she could possibly receive burns to the mouth and potential electrocution, even if the lights are off but still plugged in. The chance of your toddler wrapping herself up in the lights is another potential hazard. If your toddler can't seem to leave the lights alone, consider the baby gate option mentioned above or move the Christmas tree to a room that is inaccessible to the toddler.

3. Allergies and Ingestion

While the species of trees used for Christmas trees are not poisonous, when ingested, these trees may cause allergic reactions in toddlers as well as adults. If your toddler happens to ingest any part of a Christmas tree, watch for allergic reactions such as swelling of the face, difficulty breathing and hives. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your local poison control center immediately or go to the nearest emergency department.

4. Other Safety Hazards

Christmas trees are not the only potential hazards to toddlers during the holiday season. Display glass holiday decorations, as well as those decorations with small parts, out of reach of young children to lesson the chance of suffocation from swallowing or cuts from breakage. Hang plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe out of reach from toddlers to avoid ingestion. Taking these safety precautions this Christmas season will ensure the entire family has a safe and happy holiday.

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