Accidents are one of the major causes of death for young children, and they’re one of the top reasons why young children land in the emergency room. What makes them so tragic is because they are so often preventable through childproofing. Making matters worse are the number of parents who failed to identify all the risks in their home, while they were often overconfident of what their young children supposedly knew what not to do. In this article, we’re going to show you how to childproof your home in eight easy steps.
Making Living Rooms Safe to Live In
The first thing you should do is move furniture away from high windows so that young children can’t climb on it, especially up onto window sills. A child climbing on furniture can also cause it to tip over. The threat posed by TV stands is actually greater, because the TV is typically not attached to anything. The solution is to anchor the TV stand and the TV to the wall. Moreover, keep the covers on the remote controls, because any battery can cause severe damage if swallowed.
If you have a glass coffee table, find out what kind of glass it is made of. If it is made from tempered glass, keep it and put edge guards on it. If it is made from non-tempered glass, it will shatter easily. You can either move it to a room where the toddler cannot reach it, or you should consider replacing the table.
You may want to put edge bumpers and corner bumpers on the fireplace hearth so that children aren’t injured if they run into it. Put heat-resistant gates in front of the fireplace when you have a fire. Lock the doors to the fireplace when it is not in use, and keep the fire-stoking tools out of reach of children.
Candles and matches must be kept out of reach at all times. It is possible for a toddler to light a match no matter how undeveloped their motor skills are. Furthermore, a child could choke on wax simply by chewing on the candle. Either keep these things well out of reach at all times, or adopt the safer flameless LED candles instead.
Make sure window blinds throughout the home do not have looped cords. These pose a strangulation hazard. Another safety measure is locking blinds either all the way up or all the way down. If you want to know more ways to make you home child friendly you can learn more here. Many of those tips allow parents to reduce the risks to their children without making their home unlivable for the adults.
Feeling Safe Sending Children to Their Rooms
All heavy furniture should be secured with anchors and brackets to the wall so that it cannot tip over, but this risk is greatest in the rooms where children spend most of their time. For example, your child’s dressers must be secured to the wall. Remove free falling lids from storage chests so that little fingers are not pinched by them.
Any toy less than an inch in diameter poses a choking hazard. Parenting experts suggest keeping toys like this away from children until they are five years old. Be careful with stuffed animals, because some of them pose a suffocation risk for infants. In addition to that, many are made using harmful additives that could trigger allergic reactions in some children. And it’s never a good idea to put too many stuffed animals in the child’s crib. A toddler can use a lot of them to try to climb out of the crib.
Keeping It Safe in the Kitchen
The ideal solution is gating the kitchen so that the child cannot be there unless you’re around to supervise. Put safety latches on cabinets and drawers to keep children away from cleaning chemicals and other potential poisons. Better yet, store them on shelves out of the reach of children.
The best protective measure is locking the dishwasher so that a child can’t get into it. Some dishwashers already have a lock setting. The alternative is installing an appliance lock. Run the dishwasher as soon as you add detergent, since that is toxic if tasted. Store knives with the blades down so that you don’t suffer an injury reaching into the dishwasher. Try to put the dishes away as soon as possible.
The kitchen contains a number of heat sources. Ensure that your microwave is out of their reach. If you can’t, never leave hot food in it. And don’t let your children be underfoot when you’re taking hot food or drinks out of the microwave.
The stove is another potential source of burns. When you aren’t cooking, you can remove the stove knobs. Alternatively, put a stove guard on the front of the stove so that the child cannot reach the burners. Try to cook on the back burners, and don’t let the pan handles face forward. This reduces the risk of the child grabbing a hot pan and spilling the contents on themselves.
The oven is another major risk to young children. Learn whether your oven allows you to lock the doors so that children cannot open it. The alternative is installing an oven latch.
Maintaining Peace of Mind in the Bathroom
Store medicines and other items in their original containers so they cannot be mistaken for something safe. Store them out of the reach of children. Place toilet locks on the toilets so that children cannot fall face first into the toilet. They can drown in just one inch of water.
Buy anti-scalding devices for the showers and faucets to prevent burns. Better yet, lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees. A child can get a third degree burn from just three seconds under 140-degree water. Another step to preventing burns is unplugging curling irons and hair dryers. This can also prevent a child from being electrocuted because they dropped it in water.
Practical Solutions for Your Garage and Utility Rooms
Consider putting door handle covers on doors that your children shouldn’t be opening such as those to the garage or the hot water heater. Door handle covers are a solution that gives adults easy access to these areas in an emergency while keeping young children out. You may want to put door handle covers on the outside doors of your home, but this is only a first step to keeping young children away from a swimming pool.
Balancing Access and Safety in the Hallways and Stairwells
Put safety gates on doors to rooms that contain hazards so the child can’t go inside. Note that you need the same safety gates anywhere there are stairs. Use hardware mounted baby gates on the door frame, especially in the doorway to the basement, because a gate with expanding pressure bars could collapse, which could cause a toddler to tumble down the stairs.
Implementing Solutions for the Rest of House
Cover every unused electrical outlet with safety caps or outlet protectors. If the electrical outlets are close to a water source, such as those located in the bathroom or kitchen, ensure that they have a ground fault circuit interrupter. This will turn off power to the device if it is dropped in water.
Note that exposed power strips pose a similar risk of electrocution. Either keep power strips hidden behind furniture, or get a power-strip cover.
If a child knocks over a picture frame, the glass can shatter and cut them even if it lands on carpet. Move photo frames to shelves out of a child’s reach or mount them on the wall. Alternatively, replace the glass frames with plastic ones.
Children can tumble out of windows, and this is particularly dangerous from the second story of a home. Ideally, the windows should only open three inches. If not, put a window guard on them. In the case of casement windows, remove the crank, though you should keep it somewhere an adult can easily access it.
Consider Calling a Professional
There are tons of gadgets you can find on the market that will help your home become safer for kids. However, it is always better to call a professional if you want to make sure you have every single hazard covered.
A child proofer will come in and survey your home and will be able to give you recommendations or make adjustments. If you’re a first-time parent, it can be difficult to know what a baby can and can’t do, and you may underestimate them. But child-proofers have seen it all, and will be able to identify issues you’ve overlooked fast. So, if you really want to make sure you keep risks to a minimum, call in a pro as soon as you’ve done your effort so they can apply the last touches.
There is no way to protect your children from every conceivable hazard, but you can always take steps to minimize the risks. Following these few tips, along with proper supervision, will allow you to reduce the chances of accidents to a minimum.