To childproof your home is basically the process of designing/rearranging your house to prevent children from injuring themselves or doing damage. It makes certain areas of the house inaccessible to children and generally keeps everyone safer.
The moment you start having kids, it is compulsory that you childproof your home. Injuries from not doing this are some of the top killers of children, and proactively preventing it can eliminate chances of loss.
See ways you can childproof different sections of your house. Read and pass it on.
The kitchen is the powerhouse of any home. It is where food is made, and when it is big enough to contain a dining table, a lot of families spend time there. It is also one of the most difficult to childproof – what with its many nooks, cabinets, objects, etc. So how does one childproof the kitchen?
- Keep detergents, pesticides, cleaning products, and any other toxic household chemicals locked up – preferably in a high cabinet.
- Store plastic bags and aluminum foil out of reach. Plastic bags can suffocate a child, and the sharp edges on boxes of aluminum foil and similar products can cut curious hands
- Buy products with child-resistant caps, and keep everything in its original container. Never transfer a hazardous product into a generic container or, worse yet, into a food container because that could lead to a dangerous mix-up.
- Store knives and other sharp tools, such as food-processor blades, in latched drawers or high cabinets. Peelers, graters, and other kitchen utensils can be sharp and should be treated just like knives.
- Glassware and china should be stored up high.
- Keep all electrical appliances out of your child’s reach. Unplug them and hide the cords when they’re not in use.
- Never leave glassware, knives, or hot food and beverages unattended on counters or tables, not even for a few moments. Don’t use placemats or tablecloths because a child can pull them – and what’s on top of them – down on him/herself.
- Set aside at least one cabinet for your baby to open and explore. Pick a cabinet that’s not too close to the stove and oven, and fill it with safe but interesting objects. Things like plastic storage containers, wooden spoons, etc. Also change the content occasionally to keep your baby interested. That should keep your baby happily distracted so he/she won’t try to empty the other cabinets
- Use the back burners on the cooker whenever possible. If you must use the front ones, turn the pot handles toward the back.
- Put latches on the doors to the oven, microwave, and refrigerator, and install knob covers on all stove knobs so your child can’t turn on the burners. If you have a gas stove, remove the dials when you’re not cooking.
- Install a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Infact, install a fire extinguisher everywhere in your house.
- Put a lid on your trashcan, and ensure it’s out of their reach. If it is dangerous, don’t even put it in the trashcan. Take it outside and trash it immediately.
- If you have a highchair in the kitchen, use the straps always, and never leave your baby unattended.
- Install toilet locksto keep toilet lids closed. Children are more top-heavy than adults and can lean and fall into a toilet easily. They also can drown in just one inch of water.
- If you have water-heater, install anti-scalding deviceson faucets and showerheads to prevent burns. Also set the water heater thermostat to 45 degree Celsius, because temperatures higher than that can cause burns within seconds of contact.
- Cover unused electrical outlets with outlet protectors or safety caps. Make sure outlets in the bathroom and kitchen — or near any water source — are updated with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which turn off electricity if appliances fall into water. For outlets in use, especially those low to the ground, there are devices that make it difficult to pull out plugs.
- When buying toys for your kid(s), select those suitable for their ages, abilities, skills and interest level of intended child. Advanced toys may pose hazards for younger children.
- For infants and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard. Never give young children small balls or balloons as they may swallow it.
- Avoid toys that have sharp edges and points, especially for children under age 8.
- Avoid toys with strings, straps, or cords longer than seven inches. They could wrap around a child’s neck.
- Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
- Look for labels on toys that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide. Check instructions for clarity.
- If you buy bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or inline skates, don’t forget to include appropriate safety gear, such as helmets and pads.
- Throw away plastic wrappings on toys as soon as they’re opened. Follow instructions carefully when assembling toys. Also, dispose of any small objects that may have been present for packing purposes.
- Generally, monitor the toys your children play with. Make sure they are not broken or coming apart. Also make sure the paint isn’t cracked or peeling off. Repair or discard damaged toys.
Around the House
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and in the doorways of rooms with hazards. Gates with expanding pressure bars should not be used for the top of staircases. Use gates hardware-mounted to the doorframe instead.
- Use doorknob covers to keep children away from rooms and other areas with hazards, such as swimming pools. Be careful though, that these devices are easy for adults to use in case of emergency.
- Place furniture away from high windows so children won’t climb onto windowsills. Screens aren’t strong enough to keep children from falling through windows, when you do not have iron-bars.
- Make sure curtains, window blinds, drapes, etc., do not have looped cords– they can be strangulation hazards for children.
- Prevent furniture from tipping by securing bookcases, shelving, and heavy furniture to walls with brackets and anchors. When storing items, put heavier items on bottom shelves and in bottom drawers.
- Surround the audiovisual appliances with a barricade so they cannot go close, or tip it over.
- Cover furniture edges/corners with foam to prevent any injuries.
This list isn’t exhaustive. There are so many childproof ideas you can get from the Internet, YouTube videos, forums, and from personal experience. There are also professional childproof service providers who can come assess your home and ensure it is safe for children. Google one close to you.
Finally, it is important to remember that childproofing your home can never be 100% effective against injury. Supervise your children at all times. ALL TIMES. Install child cams, and monitor them when you need to be in a different room from them. Keep them safe at all times, so they can grow up healthy and happy.