In this article, we’re going to discuss childhood safety, in particular, childproofing your home. There are a lot of things in the house that children can get into. But how do parents begin to make the home safe for their children?
Easy! Start by getting down on their level—look at the world from their point of view, and it’ll be easier to identify potential hazards that they can get into.
Cover the Electrical Outlets
Outlet covers do the trick in keeping your children safe from electrical shock. Sliding plates, for example, are great because you can slide it and still access the plug when you need it, but it doesn’t have a separate piece that can be removed that may not get put back in.
Lock the Cabinets
Make sure to block the access to cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and the bathroom. You can get special locks to do that and there’s even a lock to block access to the toilet.
Scan for Potential Choking Risks
Check their area for potential choking or strangulation risks. For infants under age one, start with their crib to make sure that it’s just a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet. It doesn’t need blankets, bumpers, pillows or soft toys. A sleep sack works great instead of a blanket. Remember that babies and toddlers are always going to be putting things in their mouth so clear their area of small toys and items. A good rule of thumb is any small piece that can fit inside of a cardboard toilet paper roll is too small for a baby to play with. Also, keep an eye on small, round foods like hotdogs or grapes. A trick is to cut them up in quarters so it’s safe for them to eat. It’s always a good idea to be trained in CPR and choking rescue.
Be Mindful of Your Furniture
Falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization for kids. Keep in mind that kids love to explore and are little climbers. So make sure you start with the tall or heavy furniture; anything over 30 inches tall should be bracketed to the wall with wall straps.
Take special care with flat-screen TVs to avoid injuries from TV tip-overs. It’s best to bracket those to the wall.
If your home has stairs, instill safety gates both at the top and the bottoms of the stairs. To prevent window falls, you can install something as easy as a window lock that can keep your window from opening more than four inches. Always be mindful of furniture placement in your home to avoid creating access points for them to climb up to that window.
For things like high chairs, use the safety straps. Don’t just rely on the tray to keep them from falling. With infant car seats, keep them off elevated surfaces like tables and beds. There are nearly 10,000 emergency room visits every year related to these types of falls.
Lastly, when you’re choosing baby-entertaining equipment. Choose a stationary entertainer like an extra saucer over baby walkers with wheels. This will prevent your baby to getting access to stairways and hot drinks and other potential hazards.
Secure Your Storage
Make sure that medications, household cleaners and chemicals are all kept up high and out of reach. Don’t put them in a low cabinet even if it has locks. Keep Poison Control numbers handy.
Don’t Leave Them Alone—Even for a Moment
Children can drown in as little as one inch of water so closely supervise them when bathing or swimming. Don’t leave them alone for even a moment. Baby bath seats and bath rings are not recommended and do not prevent drowning. Also, know the water dangers around your home. Things like toilet lid locks are great inside the house. Look outside if there are buckets, birdbaths, or waiting pools that are filled with water. Remember to empty those if the baby’s going to be outside playing with you.
If you have a pool, have multiple layers of protection—four-sided fencing, self-closing gate latches, and door alarms. If you have a hot tub, it’s good to have an anti-entrapment drain cover. Also, make sure that there is a firm locking cover when it’s not in use. Closely supervise your children when they are near or in water. And if they go missing—even for a moment—always check the water first.
Better Safe than Sorry
Remember that young children are very inquisitive. Keep them safe, but still allow them to explore and learn. Close supervision really is the key. It’s not only watching them to keep them safe, but it’s interacting with them as they explore their world. Do your best to make your home as baby-friendly as it can be. Make sure things on low shelves are things they’re allowed to play with, like board books or blocks.
In the kitchen, you can have a cabinet just for them that you can keep unlocked that has things that they are allowed to play with, like plastic Tupperware-style containers. This way, the baby can be right there with you even while you’re preparing meals or washing the dishes.