|Before your child is crawling, walking and becoming a lot more mobile, it would be a good time to child proof your house. Get down on all fours and search the house for potential hazards to your child.
Remember that in addition to childproofing your own home, make sure that your child safe at daycare or when visiting friends and family. Do grandparents have medicines out of reach? Does your neighbor have a gun in the house?
Here are some tips for childproofing your house:
- Use covers on electrical outlets and latches on cabinets.
- Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding burns.
- Prevent poisoning by keeping household cleaners, chemicals and medicines completely out of reach and always store them in their original container and know your local Poison Control Center number (1-800-222-1222). Also, buy and use products with child resistant caps.
- Make sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as car seats, strollers, toys and cribs, etc., haven't been recalled for safety reasons. Call the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for an up-to-date list of recalled products (800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov).
- Use stair gates and window guards.
- See the Lead Poisoning Guide or take our Lead Screening Quiz to see if your child is at risk for lead poisoning.
- Maintain smoke free environments for your children.
- Remove mobiles from the crib and playpen once your child can stand.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers in the house and use flame retardant sleepware.
- Install fire extinguishers and consider purchasing flame resistant or flame retardant furniture in your home.
- Remove furniture with sharp edges or use soft guards.
- Use nonskid backing on rugs and make sure carpets are securely tacked down.
- Remove breakables from low tables and shelves.
- Remove small toys and other choking hazards from around your child.
- Tie cords of blinds, curtains and appliances up out of reach or use a blind cord wind-up device. Remove loops from blinds.
- Do not use a mobile baby walker. Stationary walkers are much safer.
- Do not carry hot liquids or food near your child and do not allow your child near stoves, heaters or other hot appliances (especially curling irons). When cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inward.
- To prevent drowning, empty all water from bathtubs and pails, keep the door to the bathroom closed and never leave your child alone near any container of water.
- In the bathroom, use a lid lock on the toilet, a non-slip mat on the tub floor and consider a cushion for the tub faucet.
- Child proof the swimming pool by enclosing it in a fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate and never leave your child alone in a swimming area, even if he is a good swimmer.
- If you must have a gun in the house keep it and the bullets in a separate locked place.
- Be cautious of certain dog breeds (Rottweilers, pit bulls, German shepherds) that account for over fifty percent of fatal dog bites and closely supervise children when in the presence of animals.
- If using bunk beds, remember that kids under age 6 years of age should not be allowed to sleep in the upper bunk.
- Make sure your house is free of enviornmental health hazards, such as radon, carbon monoxide, asbestos, mercury and mold.
- If considering buying a trampoline, keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that 'parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines' and that even when supervised, children under age 6 years should not be allowed to use a trampoline.
- Place childproof covers on doors that your child could use to leave the house.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone and keep a phone handy at all times in case of an emergency.
- Lock rooms (with a childproof lock or door knob cover) that are not childproof and the exterior doors of your house so that your child can't get out the front door or into the garage, attic, or backyard without help.
- Consider using a wall anchor or safety strap for the stove and large pieces of furniture that can tip over.
- Do not place your TV on a cart that could easily tip over onto your child.
- Consider a lock for the dish washer (so he can't reach unsafe items, like steak knives, that you might be washing) and refrigerator.
- Secure (keep out of reach of your child) your car keys and lock your car so that your children can't get locked in the car or the trunk.
- Consider getting a trunk release mechanism so that your child can't get trapped in the trunk.
- Remove the rubber knob or tip from door stops, as younger children can choke on them, or just use a one piece door stop.
- To prevent finger injuries, use a finger pinch gaurd on doors.
- Secure the key for a gas fireplace or consider using a valve cover.
- Use a guard on bannisters and railings, especially if your younger child can fit through the rails.
- Remove the hood and neck drawstrings from your child's jackets and other clothing, as they can get caught in school bus doors, handrails and playground equipment, etc. Also warn your child about using dangling key rings and hanging things from their backpacks, as they too can get caught and injure your child.
Babyproof Your House with One Step Ahead - Many of these harder to find safety items can be found through our affiliation program with One Step Ahead.