Whether your household includes a newborn, toddler, or young child, your home has the potential to pose a risk to their safety if not properly childproofed.
There’s no stopping a child’s curiosity. Using safety latches on cabinets and blocking your staircase with a gate is a good start, but there are other potential hazards around your home to account for. Let the following steps be a guide to keeping your little ones safe as they take their first steps around your home.
Water heater: A major concern for parents is that their child will burn themselves. One of the most common culprits is the water heater. To avoid burning accidents, keep your water heater set to less than 120 degrees.
Crib safety: Cribs are a place of comfort for your child, but they are not free from potential hazards. As soon as they can sit up, you’ll want to lower the crib height. The less objects in the crib, the better. Additional blankets, pillows, and toys pose risks for getting tangled up or choking.
Heavy objects: As your child grows, they will be able to reach higher and tug at furniture. Any heavy objects sitting on tables or shelving within their reach should be moved somewhere safe. Any unstable items on TV stands and bookshelves should be secured or removed as well.
Household chemicals: Household chemicals pose serious risks to the health and safety of your children. Do not keep poisonous materials under the sink or anywhere easily accessed by your little ones.
Exposed wiring: Any exposed wires in the home should be taken care of immediately. Use power strips to consolidate your wiring and hide them behind heavy furniture. If you need to keep your power strips accessible, buy power switch covers.
- Childproof your living room: Keep all photo frames high up and out of your child’s reach. Accidents with glass can cause serious harm. If possible, mount your TV to a wall. This avoids any possibility of your child climbing on a TV stand and hurting themselves. If you have a fireplace, keep it covered when not in use and lock the fireplace doors when having a fire.
- Childproof their bedroom: As mentioned above, crib safety cannot be overstated. Windows should be opened no more than a few inches and should have a window guard. To reduce the risk of your child getting tangled up, install cordless window blinds in their room.
- Childproof your kitchen: We love our kitchens, but they can be the perfect recipe for disaster with a young child present. Keep your kitchen gated and secure your cabinets and drawers with a lock, using either traditional latches or magnetic locks. Keep your microwave, toaster, knives, blender, and any other countertop items out of reach. Remember to keep your dishwasher locked and consider buying stove guards to cover your stove knobs.
- Childproof your bathroom: You’re likely to have cleaning supplies and other harmful chemicals stored in your bathroom. Keep all cleaning supplies, medicine, and toiletries locked up or well out of your child’s reach. Keep in mind that even a little standing water is enough to send your little one crashing to the floor. Be sure to keep the floor dry and clean up quickly after showers and baths. Hair dryers and curlers can cause severe burns, so remember to unplug and stow them away after use.
With a young child in the home, it’s easy for parents to become paranoid thinking of all the potential dangers and how to mitigate their risk. These are just some of the steps you can take to provides a safer home environment for your child. For more, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) website here: Childproofing Your Home – CPSC
by Sandy Dodge