family, infant, parenting, preschooler, safety, toddler

Childproofing: How to protect your children from themselves

“No, wait, don’t touch that!”

So, if you haven’t realized this already, children are naturally curious. However, that curiosity is what gets them into trouble, do you remember what curiosity did to the cat???

After you found out you were pregnant, you started planning for your new addition, you prepared the nursery, you bought your baby’s first outfit, you purchased the best of the best that your money could buy. After they’re born, you spend your time feeding and changing diapers, trying to avoid getting peed on by your son, (and sometimes your daughter with a projectile stream). Next thing you know they are rolling over and eating solid foods, and you suddenly you realize you need to think about that whole childproofing thing you’ve heard about. You began to freak out, and say to yourself, what am I supposed to be doing? What do I need to buy? Here are some ideas to get you started.

When should I start preparing my house?

Ideally, you’d like to start the process before your child starts crawling. Crawling quickly turns into walking, and then running. This means that the precious, sweet child you have grown to love, will quickly turn into an elusive being– moving around the house at what seems like the speed of light. Let’s go room by room and discuss what needs to be done.

Bathroom

We couldn’t have chosen a more dangerous space to have in our homes, but hey, this is where we come to get clean, from both the inside and outside. It houses the bathtub, which is a dangerous place on its own.  The tub should have a non-slip mat inside to prevent falls in the bathtub. You can consider soft guards for the faucet.

toilet lockThe toilet bowl is a potential drowning place, having a lock on the toilet bowl can prevent our big-headed tikes from falling into their own golden shower.

Oh, and while we’re talking about water, don’t forget to make sure your water heater is set to 120°F to prevent scalding burns.
Keep your hair appliances out of reach whether they are hot or cool, the cords along are enough of a choking hazard to make a situation very unsafe for an inquisitive child.

childpillsLast but not least, the medicine cabinet, keep your medication in the original childproof bottles, but remember childproof does not mean that your child cannot get into them. The best place for your medications, is out of reach.

Kitchen

The kitchen is my favorite room in the house, it holds the most important thing of all…the food! Unfortunately, it is another potentially dangerous place for your children. Pots, pans, knives, even your food itself can all be potential hazards. Remember to turn your pot handles inward, so your child can’t grab and pull them down. Hot foods/liquids as well as heavy items should all be housed away from the edges of the tables/countertops.

If you sit your child up on the counter to keep you company while you’re cooking, stay close and keep sharp knives out of reach. Give him things to hold on to or a task to do like tearing apart the lettuce for salad to keep him occupied. Don’t turn your back!

kichen cleaningDishwasher detergents and cleaning solutions should be stored either in securely locked cabinets or up high to prevent curious kids from ingesting these poisonous compounds.

Bedroom

Now, you’re probably asking what’s so dangerous about the bedroom? Large furniture like dressers are commonly found there, and they are prone to fall over on little children who decide to climb and pull at them. Be sure to anchor your large dressers to the wall to prevent this. Also, be sure to protect those little fingers from electrical sockets by placing outlet safety covers over them.

Jumping on beds and falling off as a result can also lead to injury so think twice about making this a game in your household.

Living/Family Room

This room is where all the action happens. It’s where you all hangout and play. Again, you have to think about the outlet covers, as they tend to be within reach of your small children.

outletcoversIf you have decorative plants around, be sure to make sure they are not toxic in nature, you can double check online to confirm the toxicity.

Just as you anchor your dressers to the wall, you should also secure your television sets, often times, inquisitive children grab at their flat screen tv and cause them to tip over and injure them.

Be mindful of your decorations as well, trying to avoid things with small pieces or fragile parts.

Sharp corners on tables can be a hazard as well so consider corner guards.

Dining Room

The dining room can be a truly gorgeous place, but you have to be aware of the fragile things that tend to live there. If you keep your table set, you must ensure that your dishes are not close to the end of the table within reach of your child. Also secure your tablecloths so that they are not easy targets for your child to pull. If you have a china cabinet or curio, secure the doors, and the unit itself to prevent injury.

Home Office

babyeatingcordWhen working at home, you have to think of your children as well. They are intrigued by the cords from your office equipment, try cord keepers and cable clips to secure these potential hazards. The equipment in your office just as in other realms of the home should be away from the edge of your furniture. Keep small office items and items such as printer ink out of reach and/or locked away.

Miscellaneous

Wait, what about the other big things we haven’t discussed like stairs, and window treatments, etc?

childgateThere are many stair gates out there, when looking at them, you want to make sure that they are difficult enough to prevent your child from unlatching them, but not so difficult, that you yourself won’t want to bother putting it back.

Be aware of the pull cords from your window treatments, keep them out of reach. Kids can strangle themselves on these cords.

If you have a fireplace, keep your fireplace tools in a safe place. These tools make great weapons 🙂 Make sure to have a gate in front of your fireplace to prevent your child from getting into the ashes or the fire when it’s roaring.

There are many other things we could discuss, but gosh, we’ve talked about a lot. The big thing is to put yourself in your child’s shoes and think what you would try to get into. Get on the floor and crawl around to see what looks enticing and what looks potentially dangerous. Those are the very things you need to protect them from. All of these things don’t need to be done at once, childproofing is a continuum based off of the age and size of your child. Good luck and be safe!

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