Child Proof Your Home Room by Room
Home. It’s the place we go when we need shelter – when we want to feel safe and secure. Even if it’s not a castle, it still is the place where we protect and care for our families. But when a new baby comes home from the hospital, and as that baby grows into toddler-hood and young childhood, what once seemed such a safe place, becomes a minefield of hazards.
According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, more than 4.5 million children are injured in the home every year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fortunately, today there are numerous products that can help, along with some good advice, so parents (and grandparents) can succeed at making their homes safer.
One common-sense way to transform your house of terrors into a safe place is to assess the dangers room by room and take measures to correct them.
- Remove all unnecessary blankets or stuffed animals from your baby’s crib.
- Never place a crib near winidows. Use cordless blinds or cut blind cords in half to avoid strangulation.
- Check old cribs to be sure they meet current safety standards.
- Remove mobiles and hanging toys from crib once baby can sit up or reach high enough to touch them.
- Choose toy chests that are lidless or with lids that will stay up when opened.
- Cover all unused electrical outlets with safety plugs that snap into outlets or replace them with childproof sockets.
- Regularly check the floor for small objects a baby or toddler could swallow: pins, buttons, nails, small toys and game pieces.
- Keep older siblings’ toys outside the area where the baby or toddler will be.
- Fasten high bookcases and other tall pieces of furniture to the wall so your baby can’t pull them down.
- Keep drawers closed so they can’t be climbed on or squish little fingers.
- Use safety gates to keep babies and toddlers away from areas that are not child-proofed.
- Never leave water standing in the bath, or sink. Babies can drown in very little water.
- Adjust your water heater temperature to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding.
- Consider installing a faucet cover for your tub to prevent head injuries.
- Install a toilet lid lock. Babies are fascinated by water.
- Keep medications, vitamins and cosmetics out of baby’s reach.
- Keep hairdryers and other electrical appliances unplugged and out of reach.
- Keep cleaning supplies in a high cabinet rather than under the sink or use child-proof locks on the cabinet doors where potentially hazardous products are stored.
- Secure drawers and cabinets that contain other dangerous contents such as knives.
- Use back burners for cooking whenever possible and turn the handles of pots and pans toward the back of the stove.
- Never leave a boiling pot or sizzling skillet unattended on the stove.
- Keep plug-in appliances put away or out of reach of your child.
- Don’t use small magnets on the refrigerator. They can fall down and pose a swallowing hazard.
- Make sure every area of your home has a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
- Use doorknob covers on doors that you don’t want your child to open.
- Tie up all blind cords or cut them in half to prevent strangulation.
- Program your phone’s speed dial with numbers of your pediatrician, the poison control center and an ambulance service (if you don’t have 911 service).
- Where possible cover furniture with sharp corners with pillows, quilts, blankets or foam rubber corner protectors.
- Make sure walkways and stairs are free of toys or other items that you could trip on while carrying your baby.