Childproofing Your Home
A parent’s number one priority is the safety of their children, yet each year an alarming number of children are injured by hazards in their own home. Fortunately, with a little planning and the right devices, you can make your home safe for your children.
Top 11 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children
Safety devices can be found in department stores, hardware stores, and online. They’re made to restrict your child’s access to anything that can be dangerous, be that medications, sharp objects, and even stairs and other potentially dangerous areas in the home.
When installed correctly, these safety devices are a godsend for any parent wondering how to childproof my home:
- Safety latches and locks. Think of the cabinets and drawers in the different rooms throughout your home and what they contain. Use safety latches and locks to keep your children away from medicine, chemicals and cleaners, knives and other sharp objects, as well as lighters and matches, and any other potentially dangerous item.
- Outlet covers and plates. Prevent electrocution by covering all outlets with childproofing covers and plates. They’re easy for an adult to work around but keep your child from being able to stick fingers and other objects into the outlets.
- Door locks and doorknob covers. These are the best way to keep children from getting into rooms that are potentially dangerous, as well as from accidentally exiting the house via a back or side door that’s out of your sight. When installed properly, an adult is still able to open the door quickly when needed.
- Safety gates. Also referred to as baby gates, these are used to restrict a child’s access to stairs to prevent falling, and any room you want to keep your child out of. For blocking off stairs it’s recommended to use gates that are screwed right into the wall. Sturdy gates that attach in doorways using tension are sufficient to limit room access when set up properly.
- Corner and edge bumpers. Coffee and dining tables, fireplaces, and other pieces in your home have sharp corners and edges that a child can bump their heads on. These can be made safe with a well-secured bumper.
- Window guards. Sadly, window falls are far too common because window guards are often an overlooked in home childproofing tips. Window bars, netting, and locks are just some of the options available to protect your child from a fall from a window or balcony.
- Furniture anchors. Heavy pieces of furniture, such as wall units and stands, should be secured to walls using anchors in order to prevent them from falling over on a child. These are often included with furniture and easily found at the hardware store.
- Cordless window coverings. Unfortunately, many blinds, shades, and other window coverings are operated using long cords that have been found to be a strangulation hazard. Look for window coverings that are cordless when childproofing your home.
- Smoke detectors. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends having a working smoke detector on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside of all sleeping areas. Be sure to check the batteries monthly and replace all batteries every year.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. It’s advised to install a CO detector near every sleeping area in your home and change the batteries annually to prevent CO poisoning.
- Fencing and pool/hot tub cover. If you have a pool or hot tub on your property it should be enclosed by a fence and a cover to keep children out even when the pool/tub is empty.
Prevention Steps Parents Can Take
Along with these home childproofing tips and products, there are a few more things to do to keep your home as safe as possible for your children:
- Keep small appliances and heavy or sharp items away from the edge of the counter
- Keep medications in a locked medicine cabinet mounted high up and out of reach
- Keep alcohol out of reach and in a locked cabinet
- Check your floors and accessible surfaces regularly for items small enough to be choking hazards
- Make sure battery covers on remote controls, clocks, and other items are secure
- Set up visual reminders for children
- Turn down the water temperature to below 120 degrees to prevent burns
A little prevention will go a long way in ensuring your child’s safety.