Taking a few minutes now to check your house for indoor hazards can save a trip to the doctor or worse. Nothing short of a rubber room can be made completely child safe. However, following these home safety tips along with common sense will give you a good start.
Babies love to play with window blinds, but can get tangled in and strangled by long cords. Shorten all long cords and tie them up away from the reach of little hands. A free blind tassel shortening kit is available by contacting the Window Covering Safety Council at 212-297-2100.
Stoves are a real danger zone. To prevent accidental burns and fires, turn all pot and pan handles away from the front of your stove and use the back burners whenever possible. Pull the lighter knobs off the stove when not in use and keep them nearby in a drawer. Most knobs come off very easily for cleaning. Teach kids to stay away from Mommy or Daddy when you’re cooking.
Glass doors, like outside sliders or storm doors, are an invitation for trouble. Kids often forget the door is there and walk or run right into it. If the glass breaks, serious injury can result. Apply decorative decals at the child’s eye level as a constant reminder of closed doors. Also make sure your glass is “safety glass”. This is usually stamped on the glass near a corner. If it’s not – have the glass replaced immediately.
Houses with windows low to the ground dare a child to climb out. Even if your windows are higher, kids can climb off the back of a couch to reach one. Invest in safety bars or latches and install them on any window your child might reach.
Bumps and lumps
Look for sharp corners on walls and cabinets. Install soft corner guards on coffee tables, cabinet edges, night stands and any other sharp edge you find. Use baby gates at both the top AND bottom of stairs to deter the youngest mountaineers in your family and encourage home safety.
Be sure any railing in your home is at least 36 inches tall and has no more than 6 inch spaces between any of the spindles. While legal under most building codes, this 6 inch space is still too wide for a really small child who could squeeze through the railing and fall. If you have a small toddler, pick up some child-proof netting and install it temporarily on the inside of the balcony to prevent little bodies from slipping through. The netting can be removed when the child gets bigger and won’t damage the railing.
Improve home safety for your kids with easy to install, locks for all your cabinets that contain any household chemicals, including normal cleaning solutions, paint supplies, nail polish remover and other such poisons. With medicine cabinets, install the latch high up on the cabinet since kids can climb up on the vanity.
Try leaving one “safe” cabinet open for the baby – just so they don’t get too frustrated. Let them play with your Tupperware – without any danger! Always store cleaning solutions and other household poisons in the original packaging. There have been cases of child poisoning when one parent used a juice bottle for cleaning fluid and the other parent unknowingly fed the “juice” to their child.
For children, outlets are one of the most dangerous electrical devices in the home. They are at perfect kid-height and children love to try to stick just about anything in them. The perfect home safety solution is simple – install plug protectors on every outlet. There are many different types of outlet covers. Most will do the trick. But avoid those that only cover a single plug, since they are small enough to be swallowed by a child. Use at least the double plug size.
Home safety for baby starts by looking carefully around your child’s crib. This ought to be the safest area in the house. Kid-proof anything that could cause trouble including blinds, outlets, shelves, furniture that could be pulled down and plastic bags that can cause suffocation.