- Use a crib manufactured after 1989 to ensure it meets all new safety requirements.
- Never place a pillow or large stuffed animals in the crib with baby. Bumper pads and crib toys should be removed when your child is able to pull himself to a standing position (around age 6 mos.)
- Use a baby monitor while your child is alone in the nursery.
- Place the crib away from windows where cords and curtains may present strangulation hazards.
- Get a changing table with high sides and a safety strap. Never leave a baby alone on the changing table.
- Keep ointments, lotions, powders and toiletries out of reach.
- Cover outlets.
- Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. This will not only prevent scalding, but will continue to sterilize items in the dishwasher.
- Place covers on the tub spout to avoid bumps.
- Use non-slip appliques or a bath mat to prevent slips in the bathtub.
- Lock cabinets and drawers or relocate all bathroom items (including cosmetics, mouthwash, razors, blow dryers, medications, etc.) to a locked closet and store only towels and washcloths in cabinets and drawers.
- Lock toilet seats.
- Train your family to keep bathroom doors closed as a matter of practice, this will not only help prevent injuries, but involve the family in keeping baby safe.
- Place locks on all drawers and cabinets or leave one cabinet with items baby can play with (wooden spoons, pots, empty food storage containers). Be sure this cabinet is away from the oven or stove.
- Store all cleaning products including dishwashing soap in a locked cabinet or out of reach of children.
- Keep pots and pans on back burners with handles turned toward the back of the stove.
- Keep baby's highchair away from countertops while baby is in it.
- Keep trash compactor and dishwasher latched when not in use.
- Keep knives and other sharp objects in a latched drawer.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand for an emergency. Be sure to have it checked or replaced as the manufacturer recommends.
- Store garbage in a container with a tight lid or in the garage. Garbage can be a hazard and the plastic bags can be a choking hazard.
- Keep the number for poison control near the telephone in the event of accidental poisoning (which can even happen even from mild soaps).
Throughout Your Home
- All unused outlets should have safety covers on them to prevent baby from sticking objects into the holes.
- Use protective covers for corners of tables, desks and fireplace hearths.
- Never use paint that contains mercury or lead. If you live in a home built before 1978, be sure to check for chipped or peeling paint. If the paint in your home is chipping or peeling, you should have a professional remove the paint or apply an approved sealant.
- Position safety gates at both the top and bottom of any stairs in your home. You may also want to have gates in doorways of bathrooms and other rooms with a step up or down. (Especially if your child is using a baby walker.)
- Install smoke detectors outside bedrooms, the kitchen, and furnace room. Be sure to check the batteries at least twice a year. Perhaps checking them on the day the clocks go forward and back in the fall and spring would be a good reminder.
- Check all of the toys for sizes a baby could choke on. Use a toilet paper roll to estimate toys that are a choking hazard to small children. This is especially difficult for parents with older children.
- Use stickers on large areas of glass at the child's level (adult too) to prevent injuries from glass doors and plate glass windows.
- Be sure carpets have non skid backing especially area rugs.
- Drapes and blinds with cords present a strangulation hazard. Tie all cords well out of baby's reach.
- Remove or move household plants out of child's reach. Many are poisonous and babies love to eat dirt which can contain pesticides, fertilizer and plant foods.
- If anyone in your household smokes, remove ashtrays and keep cigarettes, lighters and butts out of reach of children.
Childproofing is an ongoing process. Your child will certainly think of things you couldn't possibly predict. Some children are adept enough to master latches and locks, in which case it is recommended that you place all hazardous materials out of your child's reach. Remember to update your home and rechildproof regularly as your child grows.
Childproofing products are available in many stores, but be cautious that the product actually does what it claims to do. You can check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission or contact a Childproofing professional in your area.
Other Articles in Robyn's Nest
Home Safety Series:
National Listing of Poison Control Centers
Lead Poisoning in Children
What to do IF Poisoned
Why NOT induce vomiting with Ipecac?
Childproofing Your Home
Grandparents Prevent Poisoning
Giving Medicine to Young Children
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Child Proofing your home