From identifying your home's "hanger zones" to installing door knob covers. AHS has the tips to help childproof all of your home!
Are you aware of the risks your children face in your home? More than a third of childhood injuries and deaths happen in the home, and household accidents are one of the top three causes of ER visits for children under three. But, while most parents understand the importance of childproofing to protect a baby or toddler, many aren’t aware of just how many hazards may exist in their homes. Nor are many parents aware that even older children can be at risk. Here’s what you need to know and do to childproof your whole home, so your kids don’t end up getting hurt.
Know Your Home’s Danger Zones
Do you know which areas of your home are most dangerous for kids? The majority of home accidents befall children in areas where there is water, heat or flame, toxic substances, or the potential for a fall.
Danger zones include the kitchen, the bathroom, the swimming pool or hot tub, the fireplace, and even the backyard fire pit or barbeque grill. Sources of heat or flame mean kids can burn themselves; bathtubs, swimming pools or hot tubs present drowning hazards; and both kitchen and bathroom cupboards and cabinets can harbor medicines, cleaning supplies and other toxic substances that could harm kids if swallowed. Stairs, high windows, balconies and slippery floors also pose a danger, even for older kids and adults.
Keep Dangerous Items Out of Reach
So many things in your home could pose a danger to children, including firearms, medicines, matches, balloons, cleaning supplies, cutlery and small, swallow-able objects. Everything from the batteries in your watch, to the glass in your picture frames, to the cords on your blinds can pose a risk, because even the most superhuman parent can’t monitor their child constantly. You have to turn your back sometime. Know what items in your home are dangerous, and get rid of them or keep them out of reach of small hands.
Secure Televisions and Furniture
Heavy, TV sets, cribs, dressers, bookcases and other furniture can fall over onto children, especially when they’re in the pulling up and climbing stage of toddlerhood. An American child dies every two weeks due to furniture tip-overs, and that’s why most new furniture is sold with safety straps to secure it to the wall.
Make sure your TV and other furniture are secured against tipping. If your furniture didn’t come with safety straps, contact the manufacturer; they may be able to send you some. Replace your drop-side crib with a fixed-side one, too – drop-side cribs have been banned in the U.S. because they can malfunction and trap babies between the crib and the mattress, creating a risk of suffocation.
Use Safety Latches on Cupboards and Drawers
Safety latches keep kids out of medicines, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous chemicals. Even your spice rack isn’t safe; one four-year-old boy choked to death after inhaling cinnamon in his kitchen.
Practice Electrical Safety
Small children are curious, and love to stick their moist little fingers into electrical outlets. Some more enterprising tykes may decide to experiment with sticking objects into the funny little holes on the wall. Protect your kids with outlet covers and power-strip covers. Avoid stringing extension cords and power strips around the room; these present a trip hazard for the whole family.
Little kids are prone to falls down stairs and even from windows and balconies, so it’s a no-brainer to protect these areas. Keep your balcony doors locked and, while you’re at it, install childproof locks on your exterior doors and windows – the last thing you need is your little explorer deciding to wake up and have an adventure outside in the middle of the night, and you’d be surprised at how easily some kids can manipulate door knob locks and deadbolt latches.
Move furniture away from windows so kids can’t climb up and fall out of them. Install handrails on your stairs, and teach older children to use them. Use baby gates to keep younger kids away from stairs.
Install Doorknob Covers
Doorknob covers are another way to keep kids from wandering out of the house while you’re not looking. They can also keep kids away from swimming pools, hot tubs, and other hazards.
If you have a fireplace, install a fireplace cover that will keep kids from burning themselves. Remove the knobs from your range so that kids can’t turn on the burners and hurt themselves. Hot water also poses a hazard – turn your water heater down and install anti-scalding devices on your faucets so that your kids can’t scald themselves.
If small children are good at one thing, it’s finding new ways to hurt themselves. While you may not be able to protect your kids from every danger in the world, it’s your duty as a parent to at least make sure your home is as safe as possible. By childproofing your home, you can reduce or eliminate the risk of household injury to your kids, so you can focus on making memories, instead of ER visits.