Parents and caregivers want to provide a safe place for their children to live and play, but too often child proofing these areas are ignored. This has caused thousands of household accidents that could have easily have been prevented. The good news is that child proofing is not difficult and can easily be completed in one day.
It is important to protect your child from common household dangers before you bring your newborn home from the hospital. If you wait, things can become hectic and easily get put off until a later date. Below are some of tips on how to childproof your home.
On your first visit to the store, you will likely be overwhelmed by all of the products on the market designed to child or baby proof your home. There are literally hundreds of different products.
Some child proofing requires no devices, just common sense. Other areas definitely require the use of some type of child proofing device. Not all children are the same. If you feel a certain product would help protect your child from a situation they are more likely to get into, you may consider adding that to your arsenal as well.
Here are some basic steps for child proofing your home.
Hide Cleaners, Medicine and Other Poisons
You need to move any poisonous substance out of the reach of your children. A common mistake is to keep cleaners under the kitchen sink, or bath products on the ledge of the tub. While you might think that child resistant caps will protect your children, you should be aware that the requirements for a child resistant package may mean that at least 80-85% of children couldn’t open them. That means your child might. All poisons and medicines should be stored in a high cupboard or locked area.
Not surprisingly, falls are one of the biggest causes of injury to young children. Stairways are particularly dangerous and should always be properly gated. Never use pressure mounted gates at the top of stairs since your child may be able to put enough pressure on them to give way.
Despite having a gate, it is important for parents to keep a close eye on children around staircases. No safety device outweighs the importance of adult supervision.
Keep Children out of Dangerous Rooms
The bathroom, garage, and office can all be dangerous areas for you child. To keep them safe, use door-knob covers and door locks. Place a slide lock or hook-and-eye latch high on the door, out of a child’s reach.
Keep Windows Safe
Lock windows or use guards to prevent them from opening too far. Screens will not keep your child from falling out of a window.
Make sure that blind cords are out of reach and the beds, cribs and other furniture are moved away from windows where a child could climb up and reach. You’d be surprised what they are capable of.
Outlets, Drawers and Cupboards
There is a huge assortment of products aimed at protecting your child’s fingers from being caught in door hinges, slammed in drawers or by closing cupboard doors. Test out several products in a child’s store that demonstrates how different products are used. The main purpose should be to prevent an accident but if you find the products difficult to use you may end up not using them at all.
Small Toys and Other Choking Hazards
Another major cause of hospital visits for small children is choking. Small toys, batteries, buttons, coins and other objects go straight into the mouths of babies and toddlers (and even some preschoolers). Prevention is the key. If you have older children they should be taught to keep small toys out of the reach of younger children. Keep a keen eye for objects on the floor where your baby is present.
Monitor New Dangers
You will need to be constantly aware of what your child can get access to. As you child grows and develops they may suddenly be capable of reaching or pulling down items you didn’t think of.
Don’t forget that most child proofing devices you can buy are temporary solutions to prevent the most disastrous accidents. Your children should also be taught how to behave and where to be especially careful. After all, your children will likely be in many homes that are not child proofed like yours and their safety will depend on understanding what’s not safe.