All parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children from stranger abduction and violence, but many overlook one of the biggest threats to their children’s safety and well-being — their own home.
Millions of children are injured or killed each year by dangers right in their own homes.
Experts say that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by a stranger’s violence.
That’s why it’s so important to carefully childproof your home. Drowning and suffocation are the main causes of fatal accidents for children aged under four, while falls account for most non-fatal accidents. Fire also poses a significant risk to children under the age of 11.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes before you think about safety. With careful planning and a little equipment, you’ll be prepared for when your baby is ready to explore.
Consider the following essential tips for the safety of your children.
Tip One: Remove chokables.
Pretty much anything that can fit through the inner diameter of a toilet paper roll is a choking risk and we want to keep children away from it.
Tip Two: Lock away poisons.
You will have every type of cleaner in the house and we definitely don’t want children to get hold of any of those. The best solution is going to be to try to move all of that stuff to higher ground. The second best solution is going to be to invest in a very high quality latch.
Potential poisons include bug spray, cleaning products, medications and vitamins, bottles of alcohol, and some houseplants.
Tip Three: Cover electrical outlets so your child can’t stick a finger or other object inside and get a shock or burn.
Problem is that we as adults will tend to take them out, and use the outlet to vacuum, iron etc and forget to place them back.
Instead replace accessible outlet covers with sliding safety plates.
Tip Four: Attach heavy furniture and electronics to the wall with brackets or safety straps.
Once your child starts pulling up and climbing, the child could pull them over and get hurt.
Cover all sharp corners and edges with corner protectors to soften the impact if your child falls.
This will help lessen the injury.
Tip Five: Block access to areas that could be dangerous to your child – including the refrigerator, large exercise equipment, stairs, windows, and balcony railings.
Safety gates and netting can be essential childproofing tools. For the greatest protection, install safety gates at the top and bottom of every stairway.
Never leave things lying on the stairs that could cause someone to trip. Stairs should always be well-lit and carefully maintained.
Remove or repair any damaged or worn carpet. Make sure balustrades are strong and do not have any footholds for climbing.
Put non-slip vacuum pads under rugs and mats that don’t already have them.
To prevent a fall from a window use stops, that fit as a suction cup on windows, so they can’t open too wide. Keep furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing up and out.
Tip Six: Keep cords and ties out of reach.
Children in cribs have died after getting cords tangled around their neck, so keep all cords at least 3 feet away from the crib.
This includes the pull cords and inner cords on window blinds and curtains.
Tip Seven: Prevent burns and scalding.
Never handle hot liquids or food (including coffee or tea) with a child in your arms or under foot.
When cooking, keep your child away from the stove. Turn pot handles inward so your child can’t reach them and pull the pots down. Never keep a hot iron within reach of the children. Ironing should be done on an ironing board for the child’s safety.
Tip Eight: Prevent drowning – especially in the bathtub, the most common location for home drowning deaths.
Never leave your child unattended in the tub, even for a second, and always drain the tub after a bath. Toilet bowls are also a drowning risk, so never leave the child unattended on the toilet bowl.
Most importantly when the bathroom is not in use the door should always be locked.
Never leave a bucket of water or filled wading pool unattended, and dump the water as soon as you’re finished.
If you have a pool, surround it with a fence that’s at least 4 feet high.
Tip Nine: Keep matches and Lighters out of reach of children.
Domestic fires pose a definite risk to children. Children playing with matches and lighters frequently start house fires.
To keep your family safe, install smoke detectors in every bedroom and one near the kitchen.
Check them regularly to be sure they’re working, and change the batteries annually.
If you have a fireplace, keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Tip Ten: Always keep your main entrance door locked.
Keeping the Main Entrance door always locked will prevent the children from running out or crawling out to the street or building lobbies.
Tremendous care needs to be taken to make sure children do not enter the building elevators unattended.
If the phone rings, or doorbell goes, take your baby with you if you have doubts about the child’s safety, in your absence.
Finally, remember that no childproofing product replaces your vigilance! And you’ll need to revisit your safety tactics as your child gets older and even more clever.