Child adoption is parents latest worry of late, leaving them planning endlessly about how to protect their children from these abductions and violence. This has made many parents overlook one of the biggest threats to their children’s safety and well-being — their own home.
Experts say that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by a stranger’s violence.
About 2.3 million children are accidentally injured every year and more than 2,500 are killed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s why it’s so important to carefully childproof your home.
If home safety measures seem overwhelming, these childproofing checklists can help.
Read Also: Top 5 Kitchen Safety Tips
CHILD SAFETY EQUIPMENT FOR HOMES
When looking for safety equipment, you will have to consider your child’s nature as well as the specific hazards in your living space. Different families have different needs, but here are four safety devices that every home should be without:
- Smoke detectors
You should have at least one smoke detector in every bedroom, as well as in the adjacent hallway, and on every level of your home. Carefully follow the installation instructions and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Childproof latches for doors, drawers, and cupboards
Any child who’s old enough to move from one place to another is old enough to open cabinets or escape through a door. Childproof latches are an easy, inexpensive way to prevent disaster.
- Safety gates
A sturdy gate can keep your child away from just about any potential hazard, including stairs, and exposed heater, and a Christmas tree. Some gates are made to fit in doorways, while fancier versions can expand to fit almost anywhere or around almost anything. Hardware-mounted gates are generally safer and more parent-friendly than pressure-mounted gates, which often cause more wall damage.
- Electrical outlet covers
If your child sees you plug something in, he’ll want to try it, too. You don’t want him plugging in appliances by himself, and you definitely don’t want him sticking a fork or other metal object into the socket. Many young children have been electrocuted this way. Use sliding face-plate covers rather than push-in caps, which can be too easy or too difficult to remove and, when small, can be choking hazards.
If you need assistance in identifying and addressing the hazards in your home, consider consulting a child safety expert. A licensed professional can help you select and install the appropriate devices. Check with the International Association for Child Safety for a referral to a local professional.
CHECKLIST FOR CHILDREN
- Bathroom safety
Never, ever leave a child in tub unsupervised, not even for a few seconds.
Put a non-slip mat in the bathtub.
Nice to have:
Softcover for bathtub spout
Covers for bathtub knobs
- Bedroom safety
Consider moving a child from crib to bed when he reaches 35 inches.
Use a detachable rail to prevent falls from the new bed and/or put padding on the floor next to the bed.
As an alternative to a regular bed, place crib mattress on the floor
- Preventing burns
Don’t carry hot food or drink and your child at the same time.
Keep hot food and drink away from edges of tables and counters.
Don’t hold a child while cooking at the stove.
Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
Secure oven door with an appliance latch.
Install a stove guard and knob covers.
Don’t use clothing with drawstrings (Drawstring is a string that runs in the inner side of waistband with two loose ends in the front)
Don’t leave toys in a crib (or anything else that would help a child climb out) when a child is sleeping
Keep drop side of the crib up and locked when you’re not in the room.
Consider moving child from crib to bed when he reaches 35 inches.
Use doorstops and door holders to protect fingers.
- Electrical outlets, cords, and appliances
Put safety plugs or outlet covers in unused outlets or block with furniture.
Hide electrical cords behind furniture or use the hide-a-cord device.
Keep blow dryers, toasters, and other appliances unplugged and out of reach.
- Preventing falls
Never leave a child alone in a high chair or let him climb on furniture from which he can fall.
Use window guards and netting on windows, decks, and landings.
If railings have openings wider than 4 inches, block with plastic garden fencing, Plexiglas, or other material.
At the store, use belts on shopping carts (or bring one of your own)
- Fire prevention
Check batteries on smoke detectors monthly.
Review the fire escapes route and start talking to your child about it.
- First aid
Take a CPR class.
- Forbidden territory
Keep knives, breakables, heavy pots, and other dangerous items locked up or out of reach.
Control access to unsafe areas with gates, door locks, and knob covers.
Put locks or latches on accessible cabinets and drawers that house unsafe items.
Keep trashcans in inaccessible cupboards or use ones with child-resistant covers.
Cover or block access to hot radiators and floor heaters.
Secure refrigerator with an appliance latch.
Keep small fingers out of VCRs (video cassette recorder) with a VCR lock.
Do not use tablecloths or placemats — your child may pull them and what is on them down
Distract the child from forbidden places by keeping one cupboard unlocked and filled with lightweight, safe items.
Remove clutter and move protruding furniture that child could trip on.
Attach corner and edge guards to furniture that will become a hazard as a child walks, climbs, and grows taller.
Secure furniture that can topple (bookcases, chests of drawers) to the walls.
Keep televisions on low, stable cabinets, pushed back as far as possible.
Secure tall, tippy lamps behind furniture.
Make sure surface under equipment is rubber, fibre, wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel — not asphalt, concrete, or grass.
Survey your house and move cleaning agents, medicines, vitamins, toiletries, mothballs, and other potentially toxic items out of reach or lock them up.
Remember that your purse or a visitor’s purse can hold medicines, toiletries, and other toxic substances — keep them out of reach.
Get rid of toxic houseplants such as philodendron or move them out of reach.
Keep the child out of the sun as much as possible.
When outside, protect skin with hats, light-coloured clothing with long sleeves, and sunscreen.
Install a lock on the toilets (tots can fall in and drown).
The safest toys:
Are securely put together and in good condition.
Have no buttons, eyes, beads, ribbons, or other pieces a child could pull off and choke on.
Are not too heavy (if a toy would harm a child if it fell on her, it’s too heavy).
Have no strings or cords longer than 12 inches.
Are appropriate for your child’s age and physical skills
Cannot be hung around the neck.
Teach a child to be wary of cars and to hold grownup’s hand in street or parking lot.
Do not leave a child unattended even for a moment in or near a pool or other water.
Around your pool, erect fencing at least 4 feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
Do not leave even small amounts of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids in buckets or other containers.
Cut off or tie up dangling cords on drapes and blinds.
Mark sliding doors and other expenses of glass with colourful stickers.
Install window locks so windows can be opened for air but not far enough for a child to climb out.
Do not depend on screens to prevent falls.
Avoid putting furniture that child could climb on near windows.