Parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children from outside danger, yet the biggest threats are usually within their homes. Babies become mobile very quickly so it’s never too early to start baby proofing your home. A child that was crawling on Monday could be cruising mid-week and taking their first steps on Sunday evening. We’ve put together tips to keep baby safe along with local resources that can assist with baby proofing the home.
Bookcases, TV stands and other lightweight pieces of furniture should be bolted to a wall. Many kinds of furniture that requires assembly will include an anti-tip strap in the kit. Use it. It only takes a minute for a curious toddler to pull herself up onto a bookshelf, sending the whole thing down on top of her.
Lock any cabinet that contains cleaning supplies and/or sharp objects like the blades for a food processor.
Keep a lock on a basement or attic door. Once the child is sleeping in a bed, families may want to consider putting these locks on a bathroom door as well.
Edge guards are typically made of foam, and these serve to soften sharp or hard corners like a fireplace hearth or end table. Many will have a bit of adhesive on the back so families can easily stick them wherever they’re needed. Most toddlers spend their days speeding through a house; a foam bumper can save a family a trip to the ER for stitches.
Available in varying sizes and styles, keep in mind that all gates at the top of stairwells should be mounted with the enclosed hardware. Pressure mounted gates are better suited to kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom doorways.
Outlet covers keep little fingers from investigating outlet holes. Inexpensive and easy to install, keep these covers in every outlet that a child can reach. Parents can easily switch plates into sliding safety plates.
Hundreds of children drown every summer in pools. Families with pools and young children should make sure their pools are fenced and that the barrier is four feet high or more. Place a rigid cover on top, but make sure that water does not collect on the cover as small children can drown even in a few inches of water. If the pool is above ground, parents should remove the ladder in the off-season. A pool alarm may also be a worthy investment. If the child is old enough, families should consider a water safety class. Read Long Island Mamas’ article on swim classes in Long Island.
If an appliance does not already have one, a lock ensures that a child cannot pull it open and crawl in.
Keep baby from going for a swim in the toilet bowl or drinking toilet water.
These are particularly useful for families with two-story homes or who live in the upper floors of an apartment building. A window stop will keep the window from opening too much thus preventing the child from crawling through. A window guard is a barrier between the child and an open window. A screen is not enough of a barrier as it will not be able to hold a child’s weight to prevent a life-threatening fall.
Do not keep toxic supplies in locations and containers easily accessed by the child. Do not store chemicals or other toxins in containers that are recognized by a child.
- Never leave a child alone in a bathtub. A child can drown in a few inches of water in a matter of minutes.
- Loose wires and cords should be hidden if possible.
- All visitors’ handbags should be kept out of a toddler’s reach. Prescription medicines, cosmetics and coins are obviously harmful if swallowed.
- Check the batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors regularly.
- When cooking, turn all pot handles inward.
Lastly, there is no substitute for supervision. Toddlers and young children are inquisitive by nature, but most haven’t developed a sense of fear. They need their families or caretakers to be consistently aware of potential danger in their environment. There’s no way to prevent every bump and bruise, but baby proofing and supervision should protect the child from the worst accidents.
Local Baby Proofing Services
Overwhelmed by the idea of baby proofing your home yourself? Try these professional local baby proofing services that will come to your home and do it for you.
All Safe Childproofing Inc.
All Star Baby Safety
Peek-a-Boo Baby Proofing
By Rachel Minkowsky