Bringing a child into your home means lots of changes as you adjust your lifestyle to accommodate them. While for many parents, new or seasoned, traditional safety measures like baby gates, car seats and cabinet locks come to mind easily, there’s a common safety hazard, sometimes in every room of the house, that many families overlook – window covering cords.
Corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The risk? Window covering cords pose a strangulation hazard for infants and children as they can accidentally become entangled.
The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) urges parents to go cordless with their window coverings, eliminating this safety hazard. To help make the process easier when selecting window coverings, look for the Best for Kids™ label which identifies cordless options. Make sure to update your window coverings in all rooms of your house by going cordless. If you’re not able to go cordless, be sure to raise any dangling cords out of reach of young children.
Creating a child-safe home environment doesn’t have to be overwhelming– the easiest way to tackle this project is to go room by room. Nothing beats a safe home for your child. Below are some other tips from WCSC on ways to child-proof the different rooms in your house.
Throughout the house
- Check your other cords. Make sure that any electronic cords are tucked out of sight and away from curious hands. Also invest in electrical outlet covers for any unused outlets.
- Don’t place low-standing furniture near a window. In exploring their surroundings, young children can accidentally fall through an open window or window screen.
- Keep plants out of reach. Some may be poisonous or heavy if knocked over.
- If you have heavy furniture that could be pulled/pushed over, secure it to the wall.
- Add some carpeting. If your home has a lot of hardwood flooring, add throw rugs to create softer landing spaces if your child falls.
- Don’t leave children unattended in a kitchen or bathroom.
- Protect from sharp corners. Whether you swap out your furniture completely or add protective covers, eliminate the possibility of injury from a sharp corner.
- It’s common to keep candles and matches around in your living room. It’s best to keep them out of reach or even switch to flameless LED candles.
- Place picture frames out of reach to prevent them from being knocked over and causing injury via broken glass.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s covered by installing heat-resistant gates for use when flames are burning. Also make sure to keep fire-stoking tools in a safe location that is out of reach.
- Be careful with remotes and other items that have batteries. Both the backing that covers the batteries and the batteries themselves can pose choking hazards.
- Make sure that the wood on a child’s crib is smooth to avoid splinters and that the paint is not peeling.
- Lidded toy boxes can pose a hazard as the lid can slam down on a child’s fingers or even trap them inside. Look for one without a lid or that has a spring-loaded lid. They should also have air holes in case a child closes themselves, or another child, inside.
- If your child is younger than 12 months, keep their crib clear of bumper pads, blankets, stuffed animals, sleep positions or other soft objects as they may cause suffocation, entrapment or strangulation.
- Never leave your child unattended on a changing table. Keep toiletries like wipes and baby lotion within easy reach but far enough away from your child’s grasp.
- Make sure you keep baby products such as diaper cream or baby powder out of reach as they may be poisonous.
- Check that you have a working smoke detector in their bedroom and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Again, check your cords. Make sure that the cords for any appliances you regularly keep plugged in are out of sight and, for those that you only pull out every now and then, make sure you don’t leave cords dangling or within reach of young children.
- Be careful around open flames and hot dishes. Same goes for sharp instruments like knives or aluminum foil. Make sure to avoid putting your child anywhere near where these items are within easy reach.
- Remove any small refrigerator magnets that pose a choking hazard.
- Child-proof your cabinets. Purchase child-safety locks for your cabinets to keep dangerous kitchen chemicals and appliances out of sight and access from exploring young children.
- Remove breakables like dishware and vases from low shelves and place in a location that is out of sight.
- Keep any chemicals like dish soap and household cleaners locked in a cabinet that is out of reach for young children. In addition, consider switching to safer alternatives such as vinegar, beeswax and non-chlorine bleach.
- Store any plastic bags or plastic wrap in a secure location, out of reach to prevent choking or suffocation.
- Avoid using tablecloths or placemats which a child can pull on – dumping the contents on themselves.
- When using a stove, stick to the back burners which are harder for a child to reach. With some gas stoves, you may be able to also remove the dials when not in use.
- ALWAYS keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher on hand and make sure you know how to use it before you need it.
- Put a lid on it – your trash can that is. Even better, keep it tucked away to avoid children coming in contact with sharp objects such as metal cans or glass bottles.
- The bathroom is one of the more hazardous rooms of a house. When you’re not using it, it’s best to keep the door shut using an exterior lock installed too high for young children to reach.
- Remember to keep your toilet lid down and install a toilet lock so that curious young children don’t risk losing their balance and falling in.
- Make sure any vitamins and/or medication are stored in child-proof bottles and kept out of reach, even if they climb. This also goes for cosmetics, mouthwash, face products etc.
- Put any sharp instruments like razors and tweezers in a safe, unreachable location such as high up in a linen closet.
- Be mindful when you use bathroom appliances like blow dryers and electric razors. Never plug them in near a sink or tub and make sure to unplug and store immediately after use to prevent cuts, burns, or risks of electric shock.
- Make sure to set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of scalding during bath time.
- If your tub isn’t nonslip, make sure to place a rubber mat on the floor of your tub to prevent slips and falls. Same for outside the tub. Place a nonslip bathmat next to the tub to prevent falls even after bath time is over.
- Purchase a cover for your tub spout to prevent serious injury should a child bump their head on it.
- With infants, make sure to use a bathing seat to keep them secure during bath time.
- If you keep any step stools around in your bathroom, make sure they’re tucked away where they won’t encourage a child to climb and explore the bathroom.