As a parent, you know it’s your responsibility to keep your child safe. They count on you to chase away the monsters under the bed, but they also need you to protect them from very real dangers around the house. You want your home to be a safe, loving place for your children, so it’s up to you to head off possible dangers before they hurt your little ones. Kids are so naturally curious that they get into everything. To help you make your home safe for your kids, we’ve got some childproofing tips.
1. Look at your house through a child’s-eye view.
To start childproofing, get down on your kid’s level and crawl around your house. Keep an eye out for things that look like “fun” – read “trouble.” Move things that you don’t want your child to get ahold of and put them out of reach.
2. Rig up some baby gates.
As soon as kids can crawl, they walk, and as soon as they walk, they run. To keep your toddler from going up and down the stairs without your okay, get some baby gates and set them up. Cordoning off the stairs is a major childproofing step. Make sure you choose ones that are easy for a grown-up to open in case of emergency.
3. Use childproof locks.
Use childproof locks on cabinets, doors, and toilets so that your kids can’t get into trouble. Remember, if there’s trouble, kids will find it!
4. Be aware of electrical dangers.
There are many electrical hazards around the house, ones that grown-ups know about but that kids don’t. To keep your kids safe…
- Use sliding outlet covers to keep kids from sticking tiny fingers or toys into an outlet.
- Replace any appliances that have frayed cords.
- Hide electrical cords underneath or behind furniture where they can’t be reached or pulled.
- Teach your kiddo to never play with outlets or electrical cords.
5. Mind the windows.
Childproofing the windows is a must. Falls are a major danger, as are the cords that hang from the blinds or drapes. To keep your child from falling, use window guards with a quick-release feature (in case of fire.) Remember, window screens aren’t strong enough to prevent a fall. Keep your furniture away from the windows so that the little ones won’t climb up and get to the window without you realizing it.
And don’t forget the cords from the blinds. To keep your child from accidentally strangling themselves with the cords, cut any looped window cords into two pieces and place them out of reach.
6. Turn down the temperature of your water.
Make sure that the water coming from the taps is not more than 120˚F to prevent burns or scalds – you can adjust the setting on your hot water heater to make sure the water can’t go above 120˚F. Water at 140˚F can cause burns to a child after only five seconds. Test bathwater and tap water before letting your child touch it.
7. Be vigilant against accidental poisonings.
Keep anything that could be toxic in a safe, secure location that children can’t access. This includes medications. Remove anything that could lead to poisoning from purses or bags that a child could access. Keep harmful products far away from food and drinks, and make sure that there are child-proof caps on bottles containing toxic things.
The Poison Control number should be kept by all phones and plugged into your cell phone: 1-800-222-1222.
8. Take care in the kitchen.
Try to keep the kids away from the kitchen while you’re cooking. If you’re using the stove, keep all pot and pan handles turned towards the back of the stove and use the back burners. Don’t leave hot food or drinks on the edges of tables, and don’t carry a child and try to drink a hot beverage. Little kids are squirmy. They might make you spill, and you don’t want to accidentally splash hot coffee or tea onto them.
Make sure that you test anything heated in a microwave before letting a child eat or drink it – microwaves tend to heat things unevenly, so stir it up thoroughly to make sure there are no hot spots.
9. Make corners and edges kid-proof.
Kids often try to move faster than their little legs can go. To keep them from hurting themselves if they fall onto a table corner or edge (or bumping their heads – ouch!) put bumpers on any edge that could hurt a child.
10. Secure bookcases, shelves, and dressers to the wall.
Kids love to climb. They might try to scale a shelf, and the shelf could come toppling down. Make sure that you’ve anchored any bookcases or dressers to the wall to prevent them from falling onto your child.
11. Only let your kids play with age-appropriate toys.
Part of childproofing is providing your child with appropriate, safe toys. Don’t let your child play with toys that aren’t meant for their age-group. Toys for older kids aren’t safe for younger kids. You have to be very mindful of choking hazards – kids love to put everything in their mouths.
12. Always watch toddlers and kids while they eat and watch out for choking hazards.
Watching out for choking hazards is a biggie in childproofing a home. You need to supervise meal time. Keep in mind that kids under age 4 shouldn’t have hard food. Moosh up foods so that your kiddo can eat them safely and easily, and only serve foods that are not choking risks. Make sure that kids are chewing their food thoroughly before swallowing.
Foods that are safe for kids include lightly toasted bread, well-cooked pasta shells, banana pieces, well-cooked carrots, pea-sized chunks of chicken, scrambled eggs, and dry cereal. Foods to steer clear of are hot dogs, whole grapes, nuts, hard candies, chunks of peanut butter, raw carrots, popcorn, and raisins.
While we’re talking about choking hazards, keep in mind that latex balloons, coins, marbles, and small toy pieces are also high-danger choking hazards.
13. Secure the doors.
To prevent inquiring minds from sneaking into a room they’re not supposed to, use doorknob covers that will keep them from opening the door. Make sure that you choose a doorknob cover that’s easy for an adult to use in case of emergency. You should also make sure to have doorstops and holders to prevent pinched fingers, which are no fun for anyone.
14. Use non-slip mats in the bathroom.
To keep your little guy or gal from slipping in the bath, use a non-slip mat. It’s also a good idea to place some sort of mat on the tile right next to the tub for when the child gets out of the bath. Always, always, always supervise bath-time!
15. Always use the safety straps.
Things like changing tables, high chairs, strollers, and car seats have safety straps that you should use to prevent your kiddo from falling. Remember, kids get squirmy! Don’t let them squirm their way right off the side.
16. Be careful around the car.
Keeping your child safe doesn’t stop at the home. It extends to your car. Make sure to take extra special care in the driveway – be vigilant for playing children. And when you’re driving with your child, do what you have to do to make sure that you don’t accidentally leave them in the backseat. You can put something that you need in the backseat next to them – your phone, purse, wallet, etc. – so that you’ll look back when you’ve reached your destination.
17. Take care with the crib.
Don’t put anything that can be grabbed and pulled, like a mobile, over the crib. Make sure that there’s nothing within reaching distance. This includes the cords from baby monitors – make sure that your baby monitor is a safe distance away and keep the cord hidden.
When you place a baby to sleep, they need to be on their back. Don’t place any stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, or the like in the crib with them, as these are suffocation hazards. Watch the crib bumpers, too.
Childproofing a home is no small feat, as you can see, but it’s important to be thorough and careful when you’re making your Atlanta home kid-friendly. The goal is to remove any dangers before your child finds them and gets hurt. Kids move fast, so you’ll need to be quick on your feet as you watch your little one grow!
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