Childproofing is a vital part of raising a baby. Newborns can’t get into much, but from the time they start crawling, kids are bound to get into stuff. Injuries from around the home are one of the top reasons kids wind up in the ER – especially those under 3 years old. Child proofing is an essential part of parenting, at least for the first few years!
Looking at your home, the kitchen is probably the best place to start childproofing. The risk of accidental poisoning, burns, and falls is pretty significant, especially since everyone spends so much time there. A few small tips really can make a big difference. One easy way to keep kids safe is to change where you keep your cleaners. Most people store them under the sink, but there’s no rule that says you have to. Move them to a higher cabinet and you’ll have one problem completely eliminated.
If the chemicals are up, the trash, cabinets and oven are the other problem areas. If your stove has knobs towards the front, simply take them off and stash them in a drawer. When you need to use it, just pop one back on. Cabinets can be kept closed with rubber bands or hair ties if you have handles, and a trash can with a locking lid can keep curious little hands away from potential hazards.
The living and dining rooms are a great play area, but they’re also a popular area for kids to get themselves into some trouble. With all the electronics most people have, there tends to be a bit of a cord problem. One easy way to keep them contained is to plug everything into a surge protector and keep the protector in a plastic bin with a locking lid. By cutting a few holes in the sides, you can get power to all of your electronics without having to worry about kids playing with them.
The other big problem in common areas like this is the heating. Registers and radiators are both very tempting for kids. A bit of chicken wire under the radiator will keep kids from dropping toys down, and a fireplace screen can keep small hands from getting burned on a radiator. If that doesn’t work for you, a DIY radiator cover is a pretty simple, smart fix.
Heading upstairs is simple for adults, but the stairs and everything up there can be a hazard for little ones. A DIY baby gate is actually very simple. Get a piece of plywood that’s long enough to slip through the stair rails, and tall enough that your little one won’t be able to reach the top. Using a staple gun, attach batting to the front and sides. You can also do the back if you want. Then, simply cover the batting with the fabric in the same way – just try and avoid stapling the same place twice!
To keep your child from accidentally locking themselves into a bedroom, wrap a large rubber band around both inside and outside handles. Twist it in the middle so the “X” covers the latch and keeps it from closing.
The bathroom is one place that everyone has problems, but childproofing it thoroughly is absolutely vital. According to the CDC, children aged 1-4 have the highest drowning rates in the US. If you don’t own a pool, then the bathroom is the most likely place to experience a drowning scare.
Of course, the best prevention is to never, ever leave them alone in the bathroom, even for just a few minutes. For those children that enjoy splashing away in the bathtub, try bathing them in a low, plastic laundry bin. It keeps them away from the faucet, and it keeps their toys within arms’ reach! For children who are still learning to sit unassisted, it can also help prevent them from toppling over.
Remember, every house and child is different. The best way to find your hazards is to get down to your child’s level and see what’s in their reach. Kids will get into different things as they get older, so expect to keep updating your child proofing for at least a few years!