How to Childproof Your Home Room by Room
When you first bring your sweet, sleeping baby home, it seems like the day they’ll moving, crawling and exploring on their own is years away. However, the next thing you know, that sweet, sleeping child is terrorizing your house, getting into every nook and cranny and striving to turn your every hair gray with worry.
Making your home safe for your little one can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first child. While there’s something to be said for crawling around to get a child’s-eye-view of tempting cords and reachable danger, why not give your knees a break? Here are some of the best tips for childproofing each room in your home:
There’s before-baby furniture, and there’s after-baby furniture. While most items in your home can make the transition, the coffee table is often a piece that has to go. Glass tops or sharp metal edges spell nothing but trouble once your baby is mobile. Sharp edges can be covered with safety bumpers, but glass-topped tables should go into storage.
Even infants can topple floor lamps and TVs easier than you think, too. Anchor the back of your TV to the wall and secure lamps to the wall as well. Tuck any cords behind or underneath sofas, or cover them with a wall track.
Sharp-edged furniture and easily toppled lamps are just two living room safety hazards that will likely apply to multiple rooms. Other house-wide concerns include:
● Outlets: If you can, use the types of childproof covers that stay on the outlet at all times, shifting or swiveling out of the way when the outlet is in use. Plastic covers that you pop in and out become choking hazards when left lying around.
● Blind cords: If your house has window blinds, be sure to tie the cords up high, rather than letting them dangle. These are a strangulation hazard.
● Windows: Open windows from the top, or install window guards so children can’t push the screen out and fall.
● Small items: Amazon and other online retailers sell what are called choke tubes. These are plastic tubes meant to imitate the size of a child’s esophagus. If an item can fit in the tube, it’s a choking hazard.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When possible, keep young kids out of the kitchen, and then use childproofing measures and common sense to make your kitchen safe.
● Put childproof locks on all lower cabinets and drawers.
● Even if drawers have locks, store knives and glassware above counter height where kids can’t reach.
● Keep appliance cords out of reach. Try an appliance garage with its own outlet.
● Remove reachable choking hazards, like small magnets on the fridge.
● Block or anchor the trash can so kids can’t tip it over, or move it to a pull out drawer.
Common sense items:
● Use small placemats instead of tablecloths so kids are less likely to drag hot meals or sharp cutlery down on their heads.
● Keep pot and pan handles turned toward the wall so they can’t be pulled off the stove.
● Use the back burners of the stove when possible, instead of the front.
● Don’t leave mugs of hot drinks within reach on tabletops.
● Make sure kids are out of the way before removing items from the oven or moving pots of boiling water.
● Keep a first aid list pinned to the fridge, so you can quickly and accurately treat burns and other injuries.
● Don’t let kids play in the kitchen unsupervised.
Most bedroom dangers — outlets, cords, choking hazards and tippable furniture — have been covered above, but it’s easy to overlook a few key items:
● Anchor dressers to the wall. Kids can open drawers and then climb in them, making it easier to tip even these heavy pieces.
● Don’t neglect nightstands when installing childproof locks, especially if you store makeup or small items inside.
● Don’t forget to install a smoke detector in each bedroom.
Like the kitchen, small children shouldn’t be in the bathroom unattended. Put a child cover on the doorknob so they can’t get in without your help.
Make the bathroom as safe as can be by:
● Putting nonslip mats on the floor and treads in the tub. Also look at putting safety covers on the tub faucet and side of the tub to prevent fall injuries.
● Prevent burns by turning your water heater down to 120 degrees.
● Keep straighteners, hair dryers and other appliances unplugged and stored out of reach.
● Store trashcans behind childproofed cabinets or nix them altogether to prevent access to choking hazards.
● Even a toilet bowl is a drowning hazard — put a lock on the seat.
Over one million kids (under 5) swallow poisons every year. Be vigilant about keeping cleaners and medications well out of reach. When possible, keep medications in a high, locked cabinet and always use containers with childproof caps. Consider moving cleaners from other rooms (bathroom, kitchen, etc.) to one central location, like a locked hall closet.
Just because your kid is too young to ask to borrow the car keys doesn’t mean they can’t get into trouble in the garage.
Childproof this danger zone by:
● Periodically testing automated garage doors to make sure they really will stop closing if a child or pet goes by the safety sensor.
● Storing paints, oils, gas, cleaners, automobile fluids and other toxic items out of reach behind locked doors.
● Putting sharp items and power tools out of reach. Never leave dangerous equipment plugged in when not in use.
● Keeping the floor clear of wood splinters, shavings and other small scraps that can pose choking hazards.
● Keeping the garage’s access door from the house locked so kids can’t enter the garage unsupervised.
● Installing locks or gates on exterior stairs.
● Always checking behind vehicles and in blind spots before backing out of the garage.
Still overwhelmed? Don’t worry. This list may seem extensive, but most of these measures can be completed with one solid afternoon of work. And what are a few hours compared to your child’s safety and your peace of mind?