Staci Baker of Baby Safe Homes Denver wrote this blog post, she is a certified child safety specialist and family safety expert.
Nine months ago you welcomed into your home your new bundle of joy and life as you knew it changed forever. Now it seems almost overnight your beautiful, giggly, curious and cautious baby blossomed into a walking, talking, rambunctious toddler whose curiosity for adventure is endless! You suddenly feel man-to-man coverage is no longer effective and immediately switch to full on ZONE defense!
It's time to childproof!
It only takes seconds for an accident to happen and you can help lower that risk by childproofing early. Your child is going to get some bumps and bruises along the way however, serious injury can be avoided.
Consider these facts:
- #1 cause of death among infants and toddlers are PREVENTABLE household accidents
- Every day almost 39K children sustain injuries requiring medical attention
- Nearly 3 million children are treated in the ER each year for fall-related injuries
Falls are the most common type of accident in the home for young children. Rolling off the bed or changing table, falling down the stairs, balcony or window all can be prevented.
- Secure your child on any changing surface
- Install safety gates at both top and bottom of your stairs
- Never use equipment like a bouncer on raised surface or table
- Install window guards or restriction devices to second story windows
- Horizontal railing and banisters that are > 3” wide are recommended to be equipped with shielding to prevent entrapment or climbing
- Anchor It! Secure all furniture, dressers, TV's, bookshelves securely to the wall to prevent tip-over accidents
Poisoning, choking hazards and suffocation risks in your home are in nearly every room. Anything that can fit through a toilet paper tube is a choking hazard. Medicine, vitamins, balloons, batteries, earbuds, coins, clips, small toys, marbles, candy, nuts, dishwasher pods, plastic bags, etc. should be removed and secured behind locked doors, latched cabinets and drawers. Because toddlers are curious check areas such as purses, diaper bags and backpacks. Prepare yourself by taking a CPR class and always in an emergency call 9-1-1.
When putting your child to sleep a few items to keep in mind are:
- Always lay them to sleep on their backs
- Nothing should be in the crib. Remove all padding, blankets, toys and use a sleep sack instead.
- Car seats are for traveling and cribs are for sleeping. Never allow a child to sleep in a car seat outside of a properly installed car seat base
- Remove all wall hangings and shelves above the crib
- Drop the mattress to the lowest level when your baby begins to start to get mobile
Electrical and window cords pose strangulation risks and burn injuries if left unattended. Did you know over 60% of baby monitors are installed incorrectly or not at all. It is recommended all child safety monitors be securely mounted to the wall, at least 3' from the crib and the cord be hidden behind molding so it cannot be pulled down or into the crib. Tidy up electrical and window cords to <7”. The safest protection of outlets include sliding outlet covers, box covers and surge protector boxes. Additionally, move all charging stations to the back of your counters, avoiding cords that hang over the counters. Be aware, plug in outlet covers can be easily pulled out and are small enough to be a choking hazard.
A few other tips to get your home safety prepared for baby on the move include;
- Install smoke and CO detectors on every level of your home
- Secure cabinets and drawers below the counter that contain risks
- Turn your water heater to 120 degrees to prevent scalding
- Never leave child unattended near water
- Clear the clutter
- Be aware of holding hot beverages or where they're placed preventing scalding and burns
- Blow out candles and keep matches/lighters out of sight
- Secure guns
- Use bath mats, spout covers and stability bars in the bathtub
- Turn pot handles to the back, remove stove knobs and lock stove doors
- Use lock out features on appliances
- Remove tablecloths and runners
- Get your car seat safety checked
- Post emergency contact list including Poison Control
Childproofing can be annoying, however redirecting a child is exhausting and more time consuming than the fraction of a second it takes to open a locked cabinet. Although no amount of childproofing will replace proper adult supervision, it can help prevent many household injuries. Give yourself the peace of mind and the “back-up” for when normal life happens and the tasks that momentarily distract us. Remember childproofing is not forever, it’s just for now.