How to Childproof Your Home With These Products

Keep your home a safe haven with these childproofing products

baby holding security gate
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Childproofing your home seems like a formidable task at times, but when you consider some of the statistics regarding child injuries in the home, you'll begin to realize that even the smallest prevention measures go a long way.

Now is always the time to get started, whether you already have a baby or if one is on the way. Time passes quickly, and before you know it your baby will be rolling, crawling and walking their way into everything.

If you’re short on time and have the funds, consider hiring a professional childproofer versus doing it yourself. These professionals can often accomplish in a couple of hours what would take you days to complete. If you plan on doing it yourself, consider the following hazards and remedies.

Childproofing 101:

Childproofing is ongoing. Don’t just do the job of babyproofing once. Take a look around before your baby is born, once your baby is crawling and again once they start walking. Be sure to get down on your hands and knees to look around the home to find hazards your adult eyes may not see as readily as your baby’s eyes will.

Educate yourself and other caregivers. Make sure you take a first aid and CPR class, and encourage anyone who will be taking care of your child to do the same, including grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Make sure child care providers and babysitters are CPR certified.

Employ constant supervision. The most crucial part of babyproofing involves adult supervision. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep a close watch on your child at all times.

Stoves, Ovens & Other Appliances:

Hazards: With stoves, toddler's hands are at just the right height to reach burners, pot handles, and knobs.

Ovens can be opened and crawled into. Dishwashers can be opened and often contain sharp objects such as knives and breakables. Refrigerators contain many items that pose choking hazards and they are airtight, which could cause a child to suffocate if they crawl inside and shut the door.

Remedy: Install locking latches on all appliances that open and close. Install knob covers to prevent a child from turning on burners and a stove guard to protect hands. Always keep pot handles turned inward while cooking. Look for dishwashers with built-in child locks and appliances with on/off locks.

Suggested Products:

  • Safety 1st Stove Knob Covers
  • Prince Lionheart Stove Guard
  • Safety 1st Oven Door Lock

Cabinets & Drawers:

Hazards: Cabinets and drawers contain a multitude of hazards including sharp objects, chemicals, medication and items that could pose a choking hazard.

Remedy: Install latches to the insides of drawers and cabinets wherever possible. Use knob latches on doors with knobs, if necessary. Make sure drawers and cabinets in all rooms are equipped with these devices.

If you have an irregular cabinet and you can’t find a latch that fits, consider emptying the cabinet or making it a spot for toys and other safe objects. Always keep poisons and chemicals completely out of baby’s reach and locked away.

Suggested Products:

  • Safety 1st Magnetic Tot Lok Deluxe Starter Set
  • KidCo Cabinet & Drawer Swivel Lock
  • Safety 1st Cabinet Slide Lock

Plants:

Hazards: Many plants are poisonous and can cause illness or even death. Potting materials pose a choking hazard.

Remedy: Be aware of the types of plants you keep, and make sure they are labeled. Do not use rocks or marbles in potting materials or as a ground cover for plants. Keep poisonous plants well out of reach, preferably outside the home completely.

Read this complete, illustrated list of poisonous and non-poisonous plants from the National Capital Poison Center.

Vases & Decorative Glassware:

Hazards: Vases, decorative glassware, and other knickknacks can break and cause cuts and lacerations. Many knickknacks and plastic flowers have small parts that can break off and cause a choking hazard.

Remedy: Put all vases and other potentially dangerous decorations out of reach. It may be tempting to leave some items out in order to “teach” your child about off-limits objects, but it’s safer, not to mention less frustrating, to just remove them completely.

Tables:

Hazards: Tables have sharp corners. Coffee tables are especially hazardous because as babies learn to walk, they use these low tables to “cruise.”

Remedy: Install table cushions. There are some brands that just fit on corners and others that go all the way around the table. You can also make your own padding system or remove any tables that might cause injury until your child is older.

Suggested Products:

  • Safety 1st Table Edge Protector
  • Prince Lionheart Table Edge Guard

Stairs:

Hazards: More than half of all nonfatal injuries to children are from falls, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Many of these falls involve unprotected stairways. In addition, baby walkers cause more injuries than any other type of nursery product, with most of these injuries involving stairs. This has led the American Academy of Pediatrics to call for a ban on baby walkers.

Remedy: Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. For the top of stairs, make sure that the gate has a secure latch and is not a pressure-type gate. Keep stairs free of clutter that could cause a fall not only for your baby, but for you as well. Always supervise a young child as they learn to climb stairs. If you still want to use a walker, make sure you never allow your child to use it near stairs.

Suggested Products:

  • Safety 1st Sliding Gate
  • GMI GuardMaster IV 
  • Clear Banister Guard Kit

Smoke Detection:

Hazards: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, two-thirds of home fires that kill children happen in homes that have no smoke detectors. Infants and toddlers are especially susceptible to the dangers of fire and smoke since they are often elevated in cribs where smoke can rise and are unable to escape a fire on their own.

Remedy: Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home, with detectors outside every bedroom door as well.

Check your smoke detector’s battery at least twice a year.

Suggested Products:

Carbon Monoxide:

Hazards: Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is a by-product of combustion. Common sources include water heaters, gas stoves and ovens, gas dryers and fireplaces. According to Dr. Marc Bayer, medical director of the Connecticut Poison Control Center, "Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause neurological problems, learning disabilities, memory loss and personality changes in children and can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth for women exposed during pregnancy."

Remedy: Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Because alternate light and heat sources like candles and fireplaces may be used during power outages, consider a model that is battery operated or has a battery backup.

Suggested Products:

  • Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm
  • First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Water Heaters:

Hazards: According to the TOMA Foundation for Burned Children, scalds are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the home for children from birth to age 4 and account for 40 percent of burn injuries for children up to age 14.

At 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it only takes 30 seconds for a serious burn to occur; at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes just five seconds.

Remedy: Make sure your water heater’s thermostat is set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Consider purchasing temperature-change bath products like those listed below that will indicate when the water is too hot for your baby.

In addition, when running bath water, make sure that you run cold water first and then hot water. Run all water before you put the baby in the tub and always test the water beforehand.

Suggested Products:

  • Munchkin Safety Baby Bath Cradle
  • Safety 1st Rubber Ducky TempGuard

Electrical Outlets:

Hazards: Unprotected electrical outlets cause thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths each year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that of those reported injuries, a staggering 86 percent occurred in children that were 1 to 4 years of age.

Remedy: Install face plates or outlet covers and make sure power strips are covered with a suitable safety device. The Biokinetics Research Laboratory at Temple University conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of the plug-in type outlet covers and found that in most cases, children ages 2 to 4 could remove the covers. In covers that were 1/16 of an inch thick with a flat oval face, 100 percent of the children in the study could remove the cover!

While these covers are better than nothing, it’s best to install the tamper-resistant outlet face covers.

Suggested Products:

  • Self-Closing Outlet Covers
  • Safety 1st Power Strip Cover

Electrical Cords:

Hazards: Electrical cords pose two hazards: First, they are often attached to heavy equipment or lamps that babies and toddlers can pull them down onto themselves. Second - many parents aren’t aware of this hazard - if a baby or toddler mouths a cord, even the smallest break can cause electrocution or burns. Saliva is a conductor of electricity, so the burn area can be quite extensive.

Remedy: Buy cord bundlers and secure cords to furniture so that they cannot be pulled. Buy cord shorteners for cords that babies can frequently reach, such as a baby monitor near a changing table. Watch teething babies very carefully, since cords are a tempting treat. Make sure all electrical cords are free of breaks, kinks, and holes.

Suggested Products:

  • Just Right! Cord Control Kit
  • Safety 1st AC Adapter Cord Shortener

Fireplaces:

Hazards: Fireplaces can cause injuries due to the hard, sharp edges of a hearth, burns and from materials inside that could cause choking even when the fire isn’t burning.

Remedy: Install a fireplace guard to keep children out of the fireplace and place a hearth cushion around sharp edges. It is probably a good idea to stop using the fireplace entirely until your child is at an age where they understand fire safety. Never leave a child unattended near a fireplace, whether there is a guard in place or not.

Suggested Products:

  • KidCo Auto Close HearthGate
  • KidKusion Hearth Cushion

Doors:

Hazards: Doors pose several hazards. They lead to areas of the home or outdoors that aren’t safe for your child. They can also pose a finger pinch hazard. Additionally, an often overlooked problem exists in the doorstop. If you have the metal coil doorstop, the end cap can pose a choking hazard. You might be tempted to just remove the cap, but the metal coil can be sharp.

Remedy: Cover doorknobs with safety covers: one for each door you don’t want your child to be able to open.

Purchase finger protectors to prevent pinching and install one-piece plastic doorstops.

Suggested Products:

  • Safety 1st Clear Grip Door Knob Covers
  • KidCo Sliding Door Locks
  • Safety 1st Lever Handle Lock

Windows:

Hazards: Each year in the United States, approximately 5,100 children receive injuries caused by falls from windows, according to Nationwide Children's Hospital. At least half of these occur when children climb on furniture to look out a window. Another hazard comes not from windows, but from cords used on drapes and blinds. These pose a serious strangulation hazard.

Remedy: Install window guards that only allow the window to open a few inches. Move all furniture that children can climb on away from windows. Keep windows locked and never allow children to sit on window sills. Purchase cord winders for window blinds and make sure the cords are always out of reach of children.

Suggested Products:

  • Kidco Window Wedge
  • Safety 1st Blind Cord Wind Ups

Bookcases & Carts:

Hazards: Bookcases, TV stands, microwave carts and other top-heavy furniture pose a risk because they can tip over if a child hangs or climbs on them. Your child could become entrapped or crushed underneath the weight of such furniture.

Remedy: Use straps or anchors to secure furniture to a wall or floor. These kinds of pieces are often recalled, and manufacturers offer repair kits to make them safe. Check to see if the brands you are using have ever been involved with a recall.

Toilets:

Hazards: Toilets cause a hazard to young children because a child can drown if they fall in. It only takes a small amount of water to cover a baby’s mouth and nose. Children cause a hazard to toilets, as well, when they throw small objects and toys inside.

Remedy: Use toilet lid locks on all toilets or keep the bathroom door securely shut at all times. Supervise children at all times in the bathroom and take a baby out of the bathroom if you have to run to answer the phone or door.

Suggested Products:

  • Mommy's Helper Lid-Lok

Purses & Keys:

Hazards: Purses contain an assortment of hazards, including medication, coins, and other small objects. Decorative key rings often have small parts that can come off and pose a choking hazard.

Remedy: It may seem like you’ve got the entire house completely baby-proofed, but not if you regularly set your purse or keys where your child can reach them.

Make it a habit to keep these items locked away or out of reach and never let a baby teethe on a key ring.

Floors:

Hazards: Thick, shag carpets hide objects that can cause choking such as coins. The corners of kitchen floors, especially underneath cabinet edges, often harbor choking hazards like dried pasta, beans or pet food.

Remedy: Get down on the floor and check for items regularly. Keep the floor swept and vacuumed, and make sure any pasta and other spills are cleaned up immediately. Keep pet food and bowls inaccessible to children.

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