Friday, April 26, 2013

Baby Proofing Your Home

When your baby arrives, your days are spent changing diapers, pacifying cries, and hands-on play.  Many parents overlook the baby-proofing stage until the child is already able to pull up or grab grandma’s heirloom china off of the bookshelf.  This is quite understandable, as the first months will literally fly by, but this is the best time to take a few hours each week to overhaul your house into a baby friendly haven.  When first tackling baby proofing, go room by room and make a list of what you need to get.  Go online to find products that aren’t available in stores.  Always make sure to buy extra, as little items like outlet covers tend to get lost.  Here are a few tips when baby proofing your home, listed by area:

Entire Home:
  • Move all items you do not want pulled onto the floor.  This can include lamps, knick knacks, or computers.  Moving these items to unreachable areas is an important part of avoiding injuries.
  • Secure all cords so your child cannot chew or pull on them.
  • Install drawer locks.  There are drawer locks available for every type of drawer.  Put locks on all drawers and cabinets to ensure your child doesn’t open the cupboard to dangerous chemicals or sharp objects.
  • Use doorknob covers.  While doorknob covers may seem inconvenient, having your toddler lock themselves in a room is terrifying.  Install child-proof door knobs or dead bolts onto all doors that lead outside.  You can also purchase doorframe shields to help protect your child’s fingers from swiftly closing doors.
  • Install outlet covers over each outlet to prevent your child from attempting to shove items into the outlets.
  • Put gates at the bottom and top of each staircase.  If your handrails have gaps larger than 3 inches, install a transparent handrail guard.  
  • Anchor all of baby’s furniture to the wall.  Over 19,000 children are admitted to the emergency room after a tip-over accident; some tragically ending in death.  Even a 5 year old can mistakenly pull too hard on a dresser drawer, or try to retrieve something from the top of the furniture and become trapped underneath.  Purchase furniture anchors or straps that secure the furniture to the wall.
Living Room:
  • Install edge cushioning around sharp corners found on coffee tables, end tables, or entertainment centers.
  • If you have a fireplace, install a fireplace guard or gate to keep curious children away from ashes and smoke inhalation.  
  • Use furniture straps or wall-anchors to secure furniture to the wall.
  • Always keep recliners in the closed position when not in use.
  • Make sure all cutlery, silverware, chemicals, and alcohol are out of reach.  Lock them in cabinets using the aforementioned cabinet locks
  • Install a stove guard to prevent your child from burning themselves; and install knob guards to keep your child from turning the stove on.  Try to use the back burners to cook as often as possible.  
  • Remove all swinging lids from trash cans and replace them with solid lids to prevent your child from getting into the garbage.
  • Install a toilet lock.  Children can drown in unsecured toilets.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120 or below to avoid scalding.  Always test the water in the bathtub before bathing your child.
  • If needed, install faucet and knob covers.
  • As with the kitchen, always make sure that medicines, chemicals, and electrical items are in a locked drawer/cabinet and inaccessible to your child.
  • Purchase non-slip mats and bathroom rugs to avoid slips and falls.
  • A garage should be off-limits to children, as most garages contain chemicals, sharp objects, and electrical appliances-not to mention vehicles.  But just in case, install a sensor on your garage door that enables it to sense when something is in its path when closing or opening.
  • Install a child-proof doorknob to keep children out of the garage.

Many parents will believe that these tips are extreme.  But investing in these safeguards now will help keep your child safe from dangers that you may not be aware of before it’s too late.

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