Childproofing your home can seem like a formidable task at times, but when you consider some of the statistics regarding child injuries in the home, you begin to realize that even the smallest prevention measures go a long way.
Now is always the time to get started, whether you have a baby already or if one is on the way. Time passes so quickly, and before you know it, your baby will be rolling, crawling and walking his way into everything.
If you’re short on time, consider hiring a professional childproofer versus doing it yourself. Often these professionals can accomplish in a couple of hours what would take you days to complete. If you plan on doing it yourself, consider the following hazards and remedies:
Stoves, Ovens and Other AppliancesHazards: With stoves, toddler hands are at just the right height to reach burners, pot handles and sometimes even knobs. Ovens can be opened and crawled into, whether on or off. Dishwashers can be opened and often contain sharp objects such as knives or breakables like glassware. Refrigerators contain many items that pose choking hazards and they are airtight, which could cause a child to suffocate if they managed to crawl inside and shut the door.
Remedy: Install locking latches on all appliances that open and close. Install knob covers to prevent a child from turning on burners and a stove guard to protect hands. Always keep pot handles turned inward while cooking.
- Safety 1st Stove Knob Covers (Compare Prices)
- Adjustable Stove Guard (Compare Prices)
- Safety 1st Oven Lock (Compare Prices)
- Look for Dishwashers that have built-in child locks
- On/Off Appliance Lock (for refrigerators and other appliances) (Compare Prices)
Cabinets and DrawersHazards: Cabinets and drawers contain a multitude of hazards including sharp objects, chemicals, medications, and items that could pose a choking hazard.
Remedy: Install latches to the insides of drawers and cabinets whenever possible. Use knob latches on doors with knobs, if necessary. Make sure drawers and cabinets in all rooms are equipped with these devices. If you have an irregular cabinet and you can’t find a latch that fits, consider emptying the cabinet or making it a spot for toys and other safe objects. If you can, keep poisons and chemicals completely out of a baby’s reach and locked away.
- Safety 1st Magnetic Tot Lok for Cabinet Doors and Drawers (Compare Prices)
- KidCo Swivel Cabinet and Drawer Lock (Compare Prices)
- Safety 1st Cabinet Slide Locks (Compare Prices)
PlantsHazards: Many plants are poisonous and can cause illness or death. Potting materials pose a choking hazard.
Remedy: Be aware of the types of plants you keep, and make sure they are labeled. Do not use rocks or marbles in potting materials or as a ground cover for plants. Keep poisonous plants well out of reach, preferably outside the home completely.
- List of Poisonous Plants (from the National Capital Poison Center, with photos)
Vases, Decorative GlasswareHazards: Vases, decorative bowls and glassware, and other knick-knacks can break and cause cuts or lacerations. Many knick-knacks or plastic flowers have small parts that can break off and cause a choking hazard.
Remedy: Put all vases and other dangerous decorations out of the reach of children. It may be tempting to leave some items out in order to “teach” your child about off-limits objects, but it’s safer (and less frustrating) in the long run to just remove them.
TablesHazards: Coffee tables and other tables have sharp corners. Coffee tables are especially hazardous because as babies learn to walk, they use these low tables to “cruise.”
Remedy: Install table cushions. There are some brands that just fit on corners and others that go all the way around the table. You can also make your own padding system or remove any tables that might cause injury until your child is older. One company will even custom make a machine washable, cushioned top to fit your exact table.
- Safety 1st Table Edge Bumper
- Table Edge Guard with Four Corners (Compare Prices)
StairsHazards: More than half of all nonfatal injuries to children are from falls, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Many of these falls involve unprotected stairways. In addition, baby walkers cause more injuries than any other type of nursery product, with most of these injuries involving stairs. This has led the American Academy of Pediatrics to call for a ban of baby walkers.
Remedy: Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. For the top of stairs, make sure that the gate has a secure latch and is not a pressure-type gate. Keep stairs free of clutter that could cause a fall not only for your baby, but for you as well. Always supervise a young child as they learn to climb stairs. If you feel you must use a walker, make sure you never allow your child to use it near stairs.