Childproofing your home can be overwhelming to a new parent. But childproofing doesn’t stop in the first year. As kids grow, so does their ability to find new things to explore, some of which can be safety hazards. Be sure you know child safety tips and devices that can help reduce potential injuries throughout the years.
Learn important safety measures you can take to childproof your home, based on the age and development of your child. Consider these tips from safety experts and the Window Covering Safety Council.
Begin childproofing before your child is on the move. Installing safety products helps parents be ready before the baby starts crawling (which happens overnight!) and teaches children what is off limits.
Begin childproofing your home by doing the following and consider these safety tips:
- Never leave a child alone on a changing table, bed, or sofa. Children can fall as soon as they can roll over.
- Never place a crib, playpen, bed or any type of low-standing furniture near a window. In exploring their surroundings, young children can accidentally fall through an open window or window screen, or become tragically entangled in a nearby window covering cord.
- Keep baby’s crib free of pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals, and blankets as they can be a suffocation hazard.
- Replace any corded window coverings with cordless options available today as corded window covering products may pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children.
- Place baby monitors and their electrical cords at least three feet away from the crib.
- Use hands-on supervision during bath time and on the changing table.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – check them every 6 months.
- Adjust water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Anchor TVs and furniture, including dressers and bookcases.
- Anchor the changing pad to dresser.
- Install a pool alarm if you have a pool.
Crawling and cruising children will grab onto almost any surface and may pick up any item within reach. They explore by putting things in their mouths as well. This is a very curious time for children which requires additional supervision
- Be sure all of the items are completed from the newborn section.
- Cover electrical outlets lower than counter height.
- Cover sharp furniture edges and corners (or remove furniture).
- Keep items away from the edges of tables and countertops.
- Install latches on appliance and oven doors, or keep them securely closed at all times.
- Keep the toilet closed when not in use.
- Create a storage area for purses and briefcases that is out of reach of children.
- Keep household cleaners and medicines up high (latches help, but children can defeat them).
- Learn and post the number for Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222.
- Dangling or accessible cords on window coverings can pose an accidental strangulation hazard to infants and young children. If you still have corded window coverings, for safety’s sake, replace them with cordless options.
- Turn pot handles inward on the stove and use back burners.
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Install gates to other areas parents wish to keep off-limits.
- Install window guards on all windows above the first floor as soon as your baby can crawl.
- Remove easily overturned lamps and dangling electrical cords.
- Keep medicines and poisons in a locked cabinet. Install child locks on cabinets.
- Never leave your baby alone in the bath; keep one hand on the child at all times.
- Avoid toys with small parts when shopping for children under age three (3) and children who mouth toys. Test the size of toys and other objects around the home with a Small Parts Tester (sold online).
Be prepared to give lots of clear reminders about safety, as children don’t always remember the rules or understand safety concerns. Make sure that the steps in the previous stages have been completed, and work on the following as well.
- Store toys conveniently. Keep toys either in an easily accessible place or out of sight. If you use a toy box, choose one without a lid.
- Install stove knob covers.
- Place hot foods and liquids on the center of tables and countertops, not on edges, table clothes or placemats.
- Secure doors that lead to stairways, driveways and storage areas.
- Never leave a child alone in a bathtub, wading pool, or other body of water.
- Lock medicines away immediately after use.
- Lock kerosene, pesticides, and toxic cleaning products in a safe place.
- Buy age-appropriate toys that are too large to swallow.
- Store dangerous tools and gardening equipment in a locked shed or cabinet.
- All rooms should have cordless window coverings, which are available in a variety of styles and colors.
- Keep matches and cigarette lighters locked up and out of sight.
- Store toys safely in an easily accessible storage bin. Lidded toy storage should be non-locking and have special safety features like air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught.
“Big kids” can understand why some items and actions are dangerous, but still need safety precautions and guidance, as their impulses often push them to do what they know is forbidden or exciting. Make sure certain hazards are contained and they have a good understanding of safety dos and don’ts.
- Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach.
- Continue keeping cleaners and medications out of reach.
- Teach your child the right way to use simple kitchen tools and appliances.
- Teach bicycle safety rules and traffic dangers.
- Continue to keep all medicines locked away and out of reach.
- Teach children how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm at home. Make an escape plan, and practice it with your kids.
- Teach them how to dial “911”.