Learning to crawl is more than an important developmental milestone
It also marks the dawn of the child proofing era. In a heartbeat, your sweet, sedentary infant is transformed into a relentless explorer, and your home becomes a minefield of hidden hazards.
Simple Baby Proofing Saves Lives
Each year, about 2,500,000 children are accidentally injured and even lose their lives due to dangers in their homes. In fact, unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death for kids under 14. While there is no replacement for constant supervision, basic child proofing can prevent many accidents.
And child proofing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Read our quick guides. Try crawling through your home, viewing each room from your child’s eyes. You may be surprised by the temptations you find. In addition, consider these baby proofing tips:
Out of Reach Means Out of Danger
Limit your toddler’s access to hazardous spaces, places, and things. If something has a door , your child will want to see what’s inside. Child proof proactively.
Child proof cabinet locks and drawer locks aren’t just for baby proofing the kitchen and bathrooms. You’ll find locks to safeguard entertainment centers, dressers, built-ins, and all types of furniture and appliances.
Anchor TVs and “Climbable” Furniture
Thousands of children are injured or killed by falling TVs, bookshelves, and entertainment units every year, often as a result of climbing. Their parents never realized they had such a hazard in their home. Anti-tip TV straps and furniture straps are an easy, inexpensive way to anchor heavy pieces.
Be Sure to Secure Exterior Doors
Even if you don’t have a little escape artist, it pays to ensure that doors leading outside have a child proof door lock or out-of-reach deadbolts. Patio doors? Get a sliding door lock. (You might also want to place decals on glass doors at kids’ eye level, so they’re less likely to run into them.)
Child Proof Inside Doors, Too
Inside the house, locking door knob covers are an easy way to put basements and garages off limits. You’ll find child proofing solutions for closets, too, such as a bi fold door lock and sliding door lock.
Doors present other safety hazards as well. To prevent little fingers from getting pinched, consider foam door slam stopper that keep doors from fully closing. Those old multi-piece door stops? Their removable tips are a choking hazard! Replace them with safer, one-piece door stoppers.
Safeguard Your Windows
It’s shockingly easy for kids to fall out of windows. First, move furniture away from them to eliminate easy access, and use window stoppers to prevent kids from raising slightly open windows. For two-story homes, metal window guards are a must!
Corral Loose Blind Cords
Cover Those Outlets
Every year, more than 1,300 children are hospitalized for electric shock after sticking objects into open electrical outlets. Cover all unused outlets with child proof outlet covers. Use power strip covers to child proof surge protectors.
Take Care with Cords
Electrical cords are equally tempting, but you can put them off limits with cord covers that look like molding. (Don’t hide cords underneath rugs; they can overheat.)
Be careful using extension cords—more than 250 kids end up in ERs every year with burns to their mouths. Use sparingly, and when you do, use a cord clamp to cover the plug and socket connection point.
Baby Proof the Fireplace
And needless to say, store matches, lighters, and kindling out of reach.
Safeguard Stairs and Railings
Stairs need to be gated, period (see our article on baby gates). In addition, railings may need to be childproofed, too. If your banister posts are more than 3″ apart, install a transparent banister shield to keep little hands. That goes for outdoor deck rails, too.
A Few More Baby Proofing Tips…
- Make sure your garage door has a working sensor that prevents it from closing when there’s something underneath.
- Always leave recliners in the closed position; kids can get trapped underneath.
- Be aware that some common houseplants—including philodendron, amaryllis and holly—are poisonous.
- Place the phone number of your local poison control center near every telephone. Don’t try to treat potential poisoning without professional help.
Child proofing is an ongoing process. Some experts recommend re-checking your home every six months, so you can install new safeguards as kids grow bigger and smarter. At the same time, teach kids what’s permissible and what’s not. All the child proofing in the world cannot replace loving supervision.
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