Most parents would do anything and everything to protect their children from potentially dangerous situations. However, many parents overlook one of the biggest threats to their child’s safety: their home. Looking around your home right now, how childproof do you think it is?
Below, we visit some common areas in and around your home, exposing some of the potential hazards as well as suggestions for how to keep your child safer.
Hazards Around the Home
When it comes to childproofing your home, the following are some potentially hazardous areas. Read through for tips on how to make these spaces safer for children.
- Keep small items (choking hazards) away from small children.
- Activate the child locks on the rear doors.
- Avoid window sun shades with hard plastic pieces as they can come loose and become projectiles in the event of an accident.
- Never leave a child unattended in the car!
- Install cabinet locks, especially for any cabinets containing cleaners (best if these are stored high).
- Avoid buying the detergents (dishwasher and laundry) in small individual packs as they have become a leading cause of detergent ingestion due to their size and bright colors.
- Keep knives and other sharp objects stored high.
- Cook on back burners when possible to avoid children reaching up to a hot surface.
- Never allow children to play in the refrigerator.
- Avoid small refrigerator magnets that could be swallowed, or keep them out of reach.
- Install a dishwasher lock.
- Secure top-heavy furniture (dressers) to the wall to prevent tipping over.
- Consider drawer locks so that drawers can’t be pulled out on top of a toddler.
- Keep the floor free of small choking hazards (buttons, etc.)
- Cover electrical outlets.
- Tie up cords on blinds and shades that could be strangulation hazards.
- Store medications high and out of reach (also includes items such as: nail polish, rubbing alcohol, etc.).
- Keep razors and cords out of reach.
- Adjust water temperature below 102 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
- Never leave a young child unattended in the bath tub, even for a second.
- Use a non-slip mat or strips on the bottom of the bathtub.
- Cover the faucet with a cushioned cover to prevent injuries.
- Consider toilet seat locks.
Your Living Room
- Cover electrical outlets and power strips.
- Supervise play of any toys with button-type batteries.
- Keep play areas free of cords or loose strings that could be strangulation hazards, including cords on blinds and shades.
- Do not allow play in containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Check the floor often for small objects.
- Be sure battery covers are secure on remote controls, etc.
- Consider wall-mounting the TV or securing to the wall with an anchor if placed on a stand to prevent tip-over.
- If there are stairs in the home, place gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Be sure the top gate is secure enough to withstand a toddler leaning/pulling on it.
These are big areas for storage of chemicals such as antifreeze, insecticides, herbicides, etc.
- NEVER put chemicals into an unmarked container or a container that looks like something else (ex. bleach or antifreeze in a Gatorade bottle).
- Keep lawn care equipment and tools secured out of reach.
About Karen Chilton, MD
Dr. Karen Chilton is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director of WakeMed Physician Practices – Pediatrics, pediatric critical care and hospital medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership.