Childproofing your house might appear to be such a daunting task, but any mum (and dad!) knows a child’s safety is worth all the effort. As mum to two toddlers, I get nervous when I see the statistics on child injuries that occur at home. The tiniest preventions, I’ve learned, can definitely go a long, long way.
And when is the best time to start childproofing your home? The correct answer is yesterday while the second best answer is now.
Whether your baby is still in your belly or you have a two year old bouncing around, most of us can never childproof our houses enough. For parents with newborns, you’d be surprised how fast time passes by. Before you know it, your bundle of joy will be crawling and touching everything in sight!
I’ve outlined certain sections and parts of your home that you’ll need to focus on in order to create a hazard-free zone for the little ones in your life.
Cabinets and Drawers
Cabinets and drawers can be dangerous to children because of what they store. These can include sharp objects, medication, and objects than can lead to choking.
Your best bet in childproofing cabinets and drawers is to install latches. The latches are typically placed inside drawers and cabinets that are within a child’s reach. You may also find knob latches that attach on knobs. Put in as many of these devices as possible. Toddlers can climb quickly and the drawer that seems out of a child’s reach in your eyes may surprisingly be within easy distance, especially for extra curious and energetic tots.
In cases of irregular cabinets that don’t work with any latch you can find, the safest option is to empty out said cabinet or drawer. Use the space to store child-friendly things instead like toys. Absolutely hazardous objects like poisons and chemicals should be kept totally out of any child’s reach.
Ovens, Stoves and Other Appliances
The kitchen can be the most dangerous room in the house. Within easy reach are knives, hot food and more. The height of most stoves make it terribly too convenient for inquisitive toddlers to explore and get hurt. As for ovens, you’d be surprised to hear how common it is for children to crawl inside.
The seemingly innocuous dishwasher is also a minefield of danger. Inside dishwashers we tend to store knives and objects that can break. A refrigerator with yummy treats can provide choking hazards or a space where a child can crawl into and possibly suffocate.
What’s the best way to keep your kitchen child-friendly? Put in locking latches on all appliances that have the ability to open and close shut. As for stoves, knob covers can help in keeping your child from turning on burners. Look into a stove guard as well to keep your kid’s hands protected.
When cooking, turn in pot handles so they don’t get knocked over. Keeping the pot handles turned inwards will furthermore prevent your little one from grabbing them and ending up scalded. There are dishwashers that come with built-in child locks.
I don’t allow my children to play in the kitchen. That’s just asking for trouble. These latches and other childproof gadgets make the room a safer place but I take it a step further by keeping my toddlers away from the kitchen as much as possible.
The majority of nonfatal injuries involving small children occur from falls. Unprotected stairways are one of the main culprits involved in these falls. Did you know that baby walkers cause more harm than any other kind of baby product? Some major organizations like the American Academy of Paediatrics have requested the banning of baby walkers. If you insist on allowing your child to use a baby walker, make sure they use it away from stairs and other places where they can fall.
Keep your stairways safe by putting in safety gates at both the bottom and the top of stairs. At the top of your stairs, install a gate with a secure latch. Don’t pick a pressure-type gate for the top.
Remove all clutter from the stairs so nobody trips. This includes shoes. When your small child is learning to climb the stairs, always keep them supervised.
The sharp corners of tables, especially low tables like coffee tables, are dangerous for babies who are learning to walk. When they use these tables to “cruise”, they can bump their heads or injure themselves in other ways on the sharp corners.
Put in table cushions to avoid mishaps. Look into specific brands that fit correctly on the corners. There are cushions that fit all the way around tables as well.
You’d be surprised to know how many common houseplants are poisonous to us humans (and pets). Even those that aren’t toxic may pose a choking hazard.
Always know the kind of plants you have at home. Remove any rocks in the potting material. Kids love to pick up rocks and marbles--these are dangerous choking hazards. All toxic plants should be completely out of your kid’s reach or, better yet, discarded from your home.
Childproofing your home is an ongoing process. As your child grows and becomes more curious, you’ll have to do more work to keep your place safe. Don’t let this stress you out. Our children are not going to be babies forever, after all. This is all temporary and the right precautions will protect your child tremendously.
Diana Lyn Mitjavile is a content writer for Zero Commission, an Australian online real estate agency based in Tasmania. The company helps sell any Australian home for a fixed fee and will take absolutely zero commission.
Their blog has amazing tips for homeowners like Mistakes to Avoid when Selling Your Home without an Agent, Top 5 Green and Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Projects to Undertake for Your House and How to Take Great Real Estate Photos with Your iPhone.
Contact her at Diana@zerocommission.com.au