Even when you think that your home is 100 percent baby proof, think again. Chances are that you might have missed a spot.
Consider the following statistics:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that, on an average, 12,175 children below the age of 19 years old pass away from unintentional injuries.
- Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children. Children aged 19 and below account for about 8,000 fall-related visits to the hospital.
- For children ages 0 to 9, the next two leading causes were being stuck against or by an object.
- A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) reported that first-time moms of children between the ages of 12 to 36 months identified fewer than half of potential hazards during a mock model home test.
You may be confident in your preparations, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Rather than have worry about the baby at every second, it’s best to baby proof ALL the corners of the house.
Here’s a simple room-by-room guide you can follow:
First, make sure the photo frames are up and away. Toddlers love to reach for things. For sure, their grabby hands will knock something over or drop a frame. Should that happen, they are susceptible to cuts due to the shattered glass. Put the frames up somewhere they cannot reach or mount it on a wall. Also, you can replace the glass with a plastic frame instead.
Next, keep your television elevated. If your child tries to climb on the television stand, the set can fall on them. Mount your TV securely on the wall, if possible. Anchor the stand on the wall, too. Use industrial-strength Velcro straps to connect the stand to eye hooks and screw them on your wall.
Also, don’t forget to cover your fireplace. When your child reaches the toddler stage, they can easily fall and injure themselves against a stony or a sharp hearth. Install heat-resistant baby gates to keep them away while the flames are burning. Artificial fireplaces may contain small rocks that pose choking hazards. If your fireplace has small rocks, remove them.
To prevent burns and shocks, tape down electrical cords and cover outlets with safety plates. Plastic plugs are not ideal since the children can choke on them.
The kitchen is a room that is full of risks. It’s best to keep the children out of the room. Since this isn’t a practical scenario, start your baby proofing efforts in that room by installing gates.
Also, toddlers love to rummage cabinets. If left unsupervised, they might end up playing with cleaning products like automatic dishwasher detergents, drain openers, and furniture polish. This poses a risk for ingestion. Place these harmful chemicals in higher cabinets or secure lower cabinets with a magnetic lock. Use traditional latches to make sure they won’t get in the cabinet.
Since babies like to pick up anything they see, keep small objects or pieces of food off the floor. The trash can should be closed at all times.
Don’t forget to remove the stove knobs when you’re not cooking. If that’s not possible, use a stove guard — metal or plastic shields you attach to the front — to make it harder for their little hands to reach the burners.
Your crib should be set up safely. Once your child learns how to sit up, lower their mattress to prevent them from climbing up and falling. Safe cribs have slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, have a snug-fitting mattress, and have no cutouts or high corner posts. Regularly check the hardware installed in the crib. Make sure everything is tightly fastened.
Also, be careful with their stuffed animals. Placing too many toys pose a suffocation risk for toddlers and they can also serve as stepping stools for your curious little one. As for baby mobiles, buy ones with shorter stings. While mobiles are helpful in putting them to sleep, your child can reach and grab the strings, which may cause the toy to fall on them.
Make sure each window only opens up to three inches, which is the height of an adult’s fist. Double the security by installing window guards. Also, go for cordless window blinds. Toddlers love to pull and play with strings. If they’re not careful, their necks might get caught in a looped cord. Eliminate the hazard by adding free tassels or just cutting the loop.
One of the most common accidents in kids involves their fingers and thumbs getting caught in doors. Keep their little fingers safe by installing devices that keep the door from closing all the way. Another option is to drape a towel over the top of the bathroom door.
During bath time, some toddlers end up banging their head on the spout or tub. Add rubber spout covers to protect them from bruises and bands. Also, hot water isn’t good for their sensitive skin. Make sure your water heater is set to 120 °F or install an anti-scald device on your faucets.
A little water on the floor is also dangerous. When toddlers slip on puddles, they are most likely to hit their face and head since they are too young to stop the fall using their arms. After each bath, don’t forget to mop up all the water on the floor.
Electrical sockets near the tub and sink should have ground-fault circuit interrupts (GCFI), which automatically cuts the power should any of your appliances get wet. Also, make it a practice to unplug electrical appliances when not in use. You wouldn’t want your little one tinkering with your hairdryer’s cord when you’re not looking.
There’s no such thing as “enough baby proofing” in the house. Even when you feel like you’ve covered all the bases, always double check each area of the house. It’s better to secure even the smallest crook than to have your child in the emergency room. Consider the suggestions above when baby proofing or strengthening the current proofing efforts at your home.