A parent can make a significant impact on home safety by making the home ‘CHILD RESISTANT’. There really is no such thing as ‘Baby Proofing’, or ‘Child Proofing’ a home. We all grow into adulthood by figuring things out. That’s how children grow to become doctors, scientists, computer technicians, and such. Toddlers will eventually figure out how to open cabinets and lids, climb everywhere, and try to satisfy their curiosities. While we can’t eliminate every possibility, we can reduce the chances of this turning into a tragedy. Our best defense is making our homes as safe an environment as possible, while constantly supervising our children.
A FEW SIMPLE STEPS
1. Kitchen---Latch lower cabinets and drawers. Store all cleaners and chemicals up and out of reach. Get in the habit of using the back burners on your stove when possible. Turn the handles in, away from the edge of the stove. Keep cords from small appliances wrapped up when not in use. A curious child can reach a cord and pull an appliance down on their head in a second.
2. Bathrooms---Never leave a child unattended in the bath! Keep one hand on your baby at all times, and have everything readily available to you prior to putting the child in the bath. You don't want to be looking or reaching for something and take your attention away from your baby. Make sure to adjust your hot water heater down, no higher than 120 degrees fahrenheit. Put toilet lid locks on all toilets. A small toddler can tumble head first into the toilet. Latch cabinets and drawers.
3. Living Areas---These areas are a constant challenge. Older siblings may play with toys that have small parts...We may have medicines in purses....Tables may have sharp edges. Keep furniture away from windows and stairs, or anywhere a climber could fall from. Strap any unstable furniture to a stud in the wall. One of the most common causes of serious injury in the home is a child pulling a piece of furniture over on themselves.
4. Nursery---Use a crib that meets modern safety standards. Antique cribs might be beautiful, but could contain lead paint, and have many hazards build in to the design. Never hang mirrors or pictures above a baby's bed. Never leave a baby unattended on a changing table. Just like a bath, have everything there before you start. Babies learn to roll quickly, and can fall while you are turned away. Keep furniture away from windows. Keep mini-blind cords wrapped up to avoid strangulation hazards. Strap any furniture that may be unstable or climbable to a stud in the wall.
5. Bedrooms---Empty nightstands of medicines and other hazardous materials. KEEP FIREARMS OUT OF REACH, DISMANTLED, LOCKED, OR IN A LOCKED CASE. Keep older siblings rooms floors clear of small pieces that a toddler could choke on. Latch master bedroom drawers and cabinets. Keep a flashlight in each room. Furniture should be kept away from windows. All dry cleaning bags should be discarded, preferably before you get them in the house. These are a serious suffocation hazard. Strap furniture to a stud in the wall.
6. Stairs---Safety gates should be installed at the top and bottom of all staircases in your home. There are many styles of gates available to fit just about any staircase. Avoid pressure type gates, especially at the top of a staircase. Eventually your child may be big enough to push it loose, sending baby and gate tumbling down the stairs!
7. Whole House---Electrical outlets should be covered with self-closing covers. Small plug covers can represent a potential choking hazard. All mini-blind cords should be wrapped or trimmed to be out of reach of a toddler. Replace spring type doorstops with one-piece doorstops. The rubber tip represents the #1 choking hazard in the home.
8. Get down on their level---If you'd like to see what your toddler sees, get down on your hands and knees and have a look around. You may recognize some hazards from the level your little one sees from.
9. PARENTAL SUPERVISION---THERE IS NO BETTER PREVENTION THAN CONSTANT SUPERVISION!!!