Childproofing: the next chapter
There’s a good chance you started childproofing when your baby first began to crawl, carefully plugging outlets and stashing any small objects out of reach. Still, a lot can change from the time your crawling baby becomes a walking tot, and it’s important to step up your safety game accordingly. While some bumps and bruises are par for the course as your little one begins to explore, there are ways to, hopefully, limit injuries to boo-boos that can be fixed with a kiss rather than a stitch.
One effective way of childproofing is to go through your home room by room and search for any potential hazards. Going barefoot can help you to pinpoint any rough spots for little feet, and getting down to your baby’s height will allow you to see things from her perspective. Remember, everything is new and interesting to your baby at this age, and an item that is commonplace for you may be intriguing to her.
A room-by-room guide
- Kitchen: If your baby enjoys being your sidekick as you prepare meals or put away dishes, it’s important to be sure she can do so safely. Start by pushing any sharp items, such as knife sets or kitchen shears, as far back as possible to ensure they’re out of reach. Drawer and cabinet locks will also come in handy to secure any glassware or utensils. If you want to leave your baby a little kitchen space to play in while you cook or do dishes, you can leave her a low cabinet full of safe things to play with, like plastic bowls, or wooden spoons. Also, placing small magnets high up on your refrigerator will remove them as a choking hazard.
- Living room: There’s a good chance that, like many families, you spend a lot of time with your baby in the living room. Unfortunately, living rooms contain a lot of risky items for toddlers - some more hidden than you might think. Take your coffee table, for example. Remember not to set down a hot drink, like a morning cup of tea or coffee, where your toddler can reach it. It’s also a good idea to remove any remotes from the coffee table, as a curious child may remove the back and take out the batteries. While you’re at it, pop some corner protectors on that table to protect her noggin from inevitable falls. Lastly, to eliminate strangulation risks, consider switching to cordless blinds for your windows.
- Bathroom: Bathrooms are not a great place for toddlers and, if possible, should be kept off-limits other than for bathing or working on potty training. Sometimes, though, you end up with a toddler who insists on following you in, and it’s best to be prepared. Door knob covers are great for restricting access to doors, like the ones on linen closets, which may contain bath soaps and toxic cleaning products. Keep any dangerous grooming items, like razors or scissors, locked in a cabinet at all times.
- Bedroom: Soft mattress, comfy pillows - no danger here, right? Actually, bedrooms can be full of hidden dangers. For example, toddlers are notorious climbers, and nothing makes a better ladder than dresser drawers. Drawer-locks can be a great way to get around that interest, though, and close supervision in bedrooms is an even better one. Another thing to be sure of is that all pieces of furniture and televisions are anchored to the wall so they won’t tip - even if a rogue climber makes her way onto them.
- Staircases and hallways: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of all non-fatal injuries for children. One proactive way to reduce risks is by blocking off all staircases with a secure gate that cannot be unlocked or pushed over by your toddler. Even with gates, though, it's a good idea to practice using the stairs with your toddler, so she knows what to do with them when she meets them. Also, many hallways contain radiators, which can get very hot in the winter months. Radiator covers are a great way to keep your house warm while still protecting your toddler from burns.
Accidents are unfortunately a part of life as your toddler becomes a more seasoned walker, but thoroughly childproofing your home will give you peace of mind and minimize the risk of injury to your child. If you’re still unsure, you can seek out a child safety consultant in your area, who will come out and identify any dangers in your home to create a safer space.
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