If you’ve never had young children in your home, you probably aren’t aware of all the dangers that lurk inside. But once a child is old enough to crawl or walk, these risk factors become very real issues. Dealing with them now will ensure they don’t become problems later.
Make Your Home Baby-Friendly
Did you know that accidental injury is the leading cause of death in children up to the age of 14 – and that more than one-third of these injuries happen inside the home?
As an adult with strength, balance, and common sense, it’s easy to take certain things for granted – especially within your own home. But babies and toddlers lack even the most basic knowledge, which could turn an otherwise innocuous item dangerous or deadly.
If you want to make your home safe for infants, toddlers, and children of all ages, here are some smart steps you can take to baby-proof your house.
1. Get on Their Level
You’ll feel silly doing it, but the best way to understand the risks of a toddler is to get on your hands and knees. In doing so, you’ll experience the world from their vantage point. You’ll likely notice things – sharp edges, for example – that you’ve never seen before, which will give you an opportunity to proactively correct issues.
2. Cover Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets are one of the first things to think about. They’re also extremely easy and cheap to protect. Just purchase some of those plastic covers and put them into unused outlets. You should also hide electrical cords behind furniture, and keep things like blow dryers, toasters, and power tools unplugged when not in use.
3. Use the Right Blinds
Did you know that nearly one child per month dies from strangulation by window coverings? If you have cords hanging from traditional blinds, you need to do something about these hazards. Cordless blinds are the best option – providing safe, yet functional window coverings that can be opened and closed without the need for a cord.
4. Install Baby Gates
In a larger house, it may not always be feasible to childproof every single area. If this is the case, you can reduce a child’s risk in the home by using baby gates to restrict their movements throughout the house. Be strategic with these gates and use them to block off bathrooms, staircases, and other problem areas.
5. Secure Heavy Furniture
Tall, heavy furniture may be one of the biggest threats to children in your home. Over the past 15 years, there have been 16,000 tip-over related ER visits by children (and more than 430 deaths). Curious children will often climb up or pull on furniture and unintentionally hurt themselves. The best way to eliminate this risk is by using furniture brackets to secure these pieces to the wall or floor.
6. Be Smart With Appliances
Appliances can be dangerous for several reasons. With ovens and stoves, burns are the most serious risk. In addition to training kids to stay away from these appliances, you can use safety locks and controls to prevent them from being opened or turned on by anyone other than an adult.
7. Dial Back the Hot Water
Most parents know to keep their children away from the oven and stove, but many burns actually occur as a result of contact with hot water. By reducing your water temperature, you can lower this risk.
“Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to below 120 F (48.9 C),” the Mayo Clinic advises. “Aim for bath water around 100 F (38 C). Check the temperature of bath water with your hand before putting your child in the bath.”
8. Cover Toilets
“Your child is curious, uncoordinated and incredibly top heavy. If your child was to fall head first he or she could easily become stuck and drown,” Jess Miller writes for Parent.Guide.
The best rule of thumb is to keep the door to the bathroom closed. As a secondary precaution, you can purchase toilet locks to prevent children from opening the lid.
9. Remove Dangerous Chemicals
Cleaning supplies can be especially dangerous to children. They often contain harmful chemicals that can cause serious illness or death when consumed.
If you can, throw away products with dangerous chemicals. Use those containing only natural ingredients. In any case, place all chemical products in an unreachable cabinet and place a latch on the door.
When in Doubt, Make it Safer
It doesn’t take much effort to childproof problem areas in your home. If you’re ever unsure of whether you should do something, it’s best to be overly cautious. The best thing you can do for your child is to provide a safe and healthy home.