Childproofing a House Room by Room
Household injuries are one of the top reasons that children under the age of the three go to the emergency room every year. And, according to a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, first-time moms of kids between the ages of one and three were able to identify less than half of the potential hazards when they were taken through a model home.
There are many hidden risks in your home when it comes to small children, and even though you may have already done a lot of childproofing, chances are you have missed a few things. So, here are a few tips for childproofing your house room by room.
You want to make sure that hazardous items are out of reach. Your child should not be able to touch things like candles, matches, houseplants, and picture frames. Also, electronics and tall, freestanding furniture (bookcases and cabinets) should be secured to the wall.
If you have a fireplace, it needs to be covered with physical barriers like heat-resistant gates. Pads for the edges of sharp or stone hearths are also necessary, and if there are things like small rocks or other choking hazards in your fireplace, you need to remove them. Also, lock the doors when you aren’t using the fireplace, and make sure all of the tools are out of reach.
Use power strips and extension cords sparingly. If you do need them, try to keep them hidden behind furniture. But, if you do need to expose a power strip, use power-strip covers.
Also, make sure to put pads on the corners and edges of tables because they are dangerous when a child is learning to walk.
Your kitchen is a room that is full of risks, so when you are not around, gate the kitchen so your child doesn’t have access to it.
Inside the kitchen, you need to put latches on accessible drawers that have things like sharp utensils or knives. Protect your lower cabinets with latches or locks to keep your child away from toxic cleaning products.
All small appliances need to be placed as far back on the counter as possible. Keep them unplugged when you aren’t using them, but do not let cords dangle over the edge.
When it comes to your stove, you need knob covers and stove shields to keep little hands from turning on the oven. Also, consider removing the knobs completely when you aren’t using the oven. When you do use the stove, use the back burners when you can and make sure the pan handles are facing towards the back. Also, lock the oven door or place a latch on it, so your child can’t accidentally open it.
If your dishwasher has a locking feature, use it. Otherwise, invest in an appliance lock to keep it closed so your child can’t get inside. For the refrigerator, you will also need a latch to keep it closed and remove any magnets that are small enough to fit in your child’s mouth to avoid choking.
Also, keep chairs and stools away from the counter and stove, avoid tablecloths, and make sure your child’s high chair is sturdy.
You always want to supervise your child when they are in the bathroom. Otherwise, keep the door closed. Keep things like hair dryers and flat irons unplugged and out of your child’s reach, put non-skid mats or rugs on the floor, and secure the toilet with toilet locks.
If you have medications in the bathroom, keep them out of reach and in a locked box. And, just to be safe, make sure they have child-resistant caps.
The Kids Room
If you can, furnish the room with a soft carpet and do not buy a toy box with a heavy hinged lid. You also want to make sure the baby’s crib has a firm mattress and that the slats on the crib are narrow.
During your baby’s first six months, keep pillows, comforters, and soft stuffed animals out of the crib because they can suffocate the baby. And, when the child is big enough to pull to stand, get rid of the bumper pads because they can help the baby climb out.
Take down any toys or decorations that are strung across the crib from rail to rail.
Finally, the changing table needs to have three raised sides and a restraining strap.
Other general things to do around the house include covering electrical outlets, installing window guards, shortening drapery and blind cords, and protecting the stairs. These simple changes in each room will help make your home a baby-safe zone.