Do you know how to childproof your home?
Whether you’re a new parent, an expecting parent, or a seasoned player in the parenting game, making sure your home is a safe haven for your little ones should be on the top of the to-do list.
Diapers, blankets, pacifiers, bottles, cribs, carriers, strollers… there’s no denying that babies require a LOT of special gear. However, there’s one critical item that some parents postpone or overlook completely: childproofing their home.
Research from KidsHealth.org shows that more than a third of child injuries and deaths happen in the family’s own home, but, with some minor adjustments around the house, the severity of many of those situations can be reduced if not avoided altogether. Whether you’re a new parent, an expecting parent, or a seasoned player in the parenting game, making sure your home is a safe haven for your little ones should be on the top of the to-do list.
Not sure where to start? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most incidents occur in one of three common areas: where there is water, near heat or flame, or places with the potential for a fall. For this reason, pay extra special attention to kitchens, bathrooms, stairs, and windows. Here are a few tips to help get you on the right path:
- Get on their level. | The most effective way to address potential hazards is to get down to a baby’s perspective. Yes, that means crawling around on all fours! While this might seem silly, it can open your eyes to safety concerns you may have never considered.
- Hide toxic substances. | Place alcohol, medicines, household cleaners, detergents, and hygiene items, such as nail polish remover, mouthwash, and perfume, in a locked cabinet out of your child’s reach. (Pro tip: According to the CDC, children often imitate their parents, so try to avoid taking medication in front of them.)
- Use bumpers and covers. | Scour the house for sharp or hard edges and places where tiny hands should not go. Place outlet covers or plates on all receptacles within your little one’s reach to prevent electrocution. Affix corner and edge bumpers on sharp edges (walls, furniture, fireplaces, ledges, etc.) to help prevent injuries from falls.
- Anchor anything tippable. | According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), someone in the U.S. is injured every 17 minutes by a furniture, television, or appliance tip-over. Properly secure all furniture, TVs, and ranges from tipping over by anchoring them to the wall or floor or installing anti-tip devices.
- Sleep safe. | Infant children are more likely to suffocate in unsafe sleeping environments than by choking on food or other foreign objects, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The safest place for infants to sleep is in a crib, not in the same bed as parents. Do not leave children unattended with stuffed animals, pillows, fluffy comforters or blankets, which are a suffocation risk.
- Check window coverings. | Corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in the American home, according to the CPSC. The CPSC recommends cordless window coverings to help prevent accidental strangulation. For information on which window coverings are certified “Best for Kids,” click here.
- Safeguard the bathroom. | Think of all the trouble a baby can get into in a bathroom! For maximum security, install a baby gate or door knob cover to keep children out of the bathroom when you are not around. Move razors, scissors, tweezers, and other sharp items out of reach. Consider installing anti-scald devices on water faucets and shower heads. You can also adjust the heat setting directly on your water heater to prevent accidental burns.
While these tips are a great start to ensuring your home is a safe space for your little one to roam freely, they are not a replacement for the watchful eyes of a parent or trusted caregiver. While your gaze is on them, however, you, too, might just be thankful you took the time to add in those soft bumpers the next time your shin collides with the corner of the coffee table…
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