When you have children, you worry about them and will take any means necessary to keep them safe. Surprisingly, many people are unaware of the dangers that lurk for children within their own homes. More than a third of all child injuries and death occur at home. It may sound obvious, but childproofing is a must and some parents don’t know what measures to take. Read on to learn how you can childproof your house for maximum safety.
Left to Their Own Devices
You can install the following safety devices in your home to help keep your kids from harm:
- Safety Latches and Locks: Cabinets and drawers in your kitchen and bathrooms should have safety locks to keep little ones from rummaging around. Anywhere you store cleaning chemicals, medicines, matches, lighters, knives, or choking hazards should remain off-limits to young children. Locking medicine away isn’t just for toddlers; according to the National Safety Council, 22 percent of U.S. teens abuse painkillers.
- Safety Gates: Prevent falls down stairs or keep kids out of rooms with dangerous items with a safety gate. For stairs, gates should screw into the wall. Other gates often don’t have enough strength to hold children back.
- Door Knob Covers and Door Locks: These devices also help keep kids out of unsafe rooms.
- Anti-Scald Devices: Faucets and showerheads should have these devices to prevent hot-water accidents. Keeping your water heater set to 120℉ helps with this as well.
- Toilet Locks: Top-heavy, unbalanced toddlers can easily fall into toilets, and drown in a small amount of water. Keep your toilet lid clamped with a toilet lock to eliminate that possibility.
- Smoke Alarms: Place a smoke alarm in every bedroom and outside of sleeping areas. You should install carbon monoxide alarms near sleeping areas as well.
- Outlet Covers: Protect curious fingers from electric shock by covering any unused electrical sockets.
- Corner and Edge Bumpers: Furniture, fireplaces, and other fixtures with sharp edges can do serious damage to toddlers learning to walk. Bumpers keep kids from hurting themselves in these areas.
- Anchors: Keep heavy furniture and appliances from tipping over onto children by anchoring them to the floor or a wall.
- Fireplace Cover: Get a heat-resistant gate to keep kids from getting into the fireplace and getting burned.
- Pool Covers: If you own a pool or a jacuzzi, keep them covered when not in use to prevent drowning.
Surprising Causes of Infant Injury...or Worse
Some household dangers are quite apparent, but those listed below can all too easily slip under your safety radar:
- Minimal bedding: Suffocation is the number one cause of unintentional death for children, and most of those suffocations occur in unsafe sleeping environments. For infants and toddlers, keep blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals out of cribs and bassinets.
- Cordless Window Coverings: Strangulation can occur with blinds that have cords. Prevent accidents by using shades or curtains that don’t have these cords.
- Guns: One study found that 55 percent of US homes had at least one gun stored in an unlocked area. Keep any firearms you own unloaded and locked in a safe.
- Batteries: Batteries, especially small watch or “button” batteries, should be out of reach, as they can be fatal when ingested.
- Furniture Placement: Place furniture away from any windows. Kids will climb into window sills, and screens won’t support their weight.
- Breakable Items: Keep any breakables out of reach. Glass and ceramics can cut children when they break.
- Adult Supervision: All of the preparations in the world will not prevent any and all accidents. Keep an eye on your children to make sure they don’t do anything unsafe.
Sources Consumer Products Safety Commission National Safety Council WebMD Parents Magazine RAND Health