It’s an exciting time when your baby starts to crawl or your toddler takes his or her first steps. But as every parent knows, it’s also nerve-wracking. Everything suddenly becomes a potential hazard, from stairs, cabinets and drawers to table corners, electrical outlets and windows. And it’s good to be aware of this, because according to the National Safety Council, household injuries are among the main reasons why children aged three or younger are taken to the ER.
Fortunately, while the thought of eliminating all potential hazards might seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task. Refer to this checklist to childproof your home so it’s safer for the youngest member of your family.
- Use safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs. Make sure they fit securely so a curious — and determined — toddler can’t dislodge them.
- Use door holders or door stops to keep doors open. That way, your child’s fingers won’t get caught in a slamming door.
- Install doorknob covers on doors to rooms you don’t want your child to have access to. This is the most effective way to prevent your child from getting into the bathroom, kitchen or garage unsupervised.
- If you have furniture with sharp edges, install corner and edge bumpers. This will help protect your child from cuts, bruises and other injuries.
- Anchor furniture that could tip over — like bookcases and cabinets—to the wall or floor. Furniture should be secure enough to remain in place even if your child tries to climb on them — which isn’t advisable, of course.
- Install toilet locks on all toilets. This way, your child won’t be able to lift the lid by him or herself and fall in.
- Put safety latches on all cabinets and draws in the kitchen and bathrooms, as WebMD recommends. These are the rooms in the home with the most amount of potentially dangerous items — think of medications, cleaning solutions, plastic bags, and sharp equipment — so you don’t want your child being able to open any of these cabinets or draws him or herself.
- Make sure the areas around windows are safe. The furniture should be at a safe distance from the window so your child can’t climb up onto the windowsill. If you have drapes or blinds, remove any long loops that could wrap around your toddler’s neck. For upper floor windows, it can also be advisable to mount safety netting.
- Install outlet covers or safety plugs. This will protect even the most curious little fingers from the hazards of electricity.
- Always unplug appliances and store them out of reach. Otherwise, your child might think they’re toys.
- Use a hide-a-cord to hide electrical cords. Or, as BabyCenter.com advises, you can hide them behind furniture where they’ll be out of reach.
Never Leave Your Child Unsupervised
Remember that even if you’ve taken these measures to childproof your home, there are still things that can go wrong. That’s why it’s important to never, ever leave your child unsupervised — even for a moment.
Enjoy This Time Together Safely
Watching your child grow up is a once in a lifetime experience — and one to be cherished. By using this checklist and always staying alert, you can maximize your home’s safety and minimize the chances of accidents happening so you can both enjoy this beautiful time to its fullest.