How childproof is your home? Whether you’re a nervous parent-to-be or a seasoned pro with a family of six, childproofing your home is an ongoing process. And it can be, literally, a lifesaver. Over 2 million children in the U.S. are killed or injured each year as a result of household accidents. Sadly, most of these accidents could have been prevented.
Think Like a Kid
What’s the first step to a childproof home? Get on the floor. No, really.
As adults, it is easy for us to overlook some of the most common sources of danger for small children. When thinking about your child’s safety, start thinking small. Take a cruise around your living room on all fours and you’ll probably notice all sorts of new things. Are there breakables within your reach? Are all of the electrical outlets covered? And this is just a start. Think about each room in your home – especially the kitchen and bathrooms – and think childproof.
You can get up now.
Child Safety Checklist: Baby Steps to a Safer Home
Here’s the good news: childproofing your home is easy and inexpensive. With common sense and a few sturdy latches and locks, it is easy to keep your home safe for your little ones as they grow and explore. Here are some essentials that every parent should be aware of:
(1)Safety Latches and Locks: A must for any childproof home. Use safety latches and locks on all of your drawers and cabinets to keep your kids out of potentially harmful cleaning products under the sink or sharp knives in the kitchen drawer.
(2)Safety Gates: Sturdy, adjustable safety gates prevent your baby from getting down the stairs or into an off-limits room. Since many gates are portable, they are an excellent way to temporarily childproof your friends’ or relatives’ homes when you are visiting.
(3)Anti-Scalding Devices: Protect your child from getting burned by installing anti-scalding devices on all of your faucets and shower heads. Also, set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees. It only takes three seconds for a child to get a third-degree burn at 140 degrees.
(4)Outlet Covers and Plates: Most electrical outlets are eye-level with a crawling baby. Use covers or plates to prevent accidents.
(5)A Cordless Phone: This one’s for you. If you don’t have one already, get a cordless so you can keep a close eye on the kids without missing any important calls.
Devices like these can prevent many household accidents, but remember that there is no such thing as 100 percent childproof. Use your common sense and always monitor your young children. In addition to purchasing and installing child safety devices, check your home and think about these childproofing tips:
(6)Store all cleaning supplies out of reach and out of sight of children, even if they are in childproof packaging. A very determined toddler can find a way around childproof caps and lids. And always store cleaners in their original packages.
(7)Make sure heavy pieces of furniture are securely anchored to the walls. Check bookshelves, televisions, and even the stove – a climbing child can easily topple the sturdiest-looking appliance.
(8)Check all hand-me-down baby supplies for product safety recalls. Secondhand strollers, cribs, and high chairs can help you save money, but make sure that they do not pose a risk to your child.
(9)Keep all emergency phone numbers handy in case of an accident. Know how to reach your local fire department and your child’s pediatrician. The number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222.