How Can You Effectively Childproof a Home?

How Can You Effectively Childproof a Home?

Whether you’re expecting your first child or welcoming the youngest of multiple children into your family, you have a lot of priceless moments to look forward to over the coming years. Before your child arrives though, it’s important to take the necessary steps to childproof your house. Doing so will reduce the risk of your child being harmed by unsafe furniture, easily accessible stairways, hot stovetops, or unsecure swimming pools. 

 

In this article, we discuss some common hazards in the home that may be especially dangerous for young children and how to minimize the risk to them as much as possible.

What Are the Biggest Household Threats to Small Children?

Small children are naturally curious and may be unable to recognize unsafe conditions. This can directly result in a number of dangerous situations if your child gets their hands on something potentially deadly or  explores a part of your house that is unsafe for toddlers. Some of the biggest threats to curious children include:

 

  • Sharp objects: Almost every house contains at least a few sharp objects like kitchen knives or craft scissors. Keeping sharp or breakable objects away from children is essential, as they can easily hurt themself or someone else on accident. 
  • Chemicals: Even “safe” chemicals like dish soap or detergents can be dangerous if accidentally swallowed by a toddler. Keeping chemicals out of the reach of children in a secure cabinet or storage space is crucial.
  • Choking hazards: Children may try to chew on or eat unsafe objects that they come across while crawling around. Be sure to sweep regularly and check your floors, countertops, and outside areas for any potential choking hazards.
  • Stairs & windows: Windows should always be closed and secure with a child-proof lock when you aren’t around to minimize the risk of an accidental fall. Likewise, gates should be installed at the top and bottom of stairwells to reduce the chances of your child taking a tumble. 
  • Electrical outlets: Babies may try to play with electrical outlets, which significantly increases the chances of them being shocked or electrocuted. Purchasing outlet covers that prevent babies from sticking their fingers into an outlet can reduce the risk of an accident. 
  • Furniture: Large items of furniture, such as dressers or heavy chairs, can pose a serious threat to young children. If not properly secured, furniture can fall on a child and cause serious injury. 
  • Large pets: Most pets are quite gentle with children. However, pets like large dogs may play too rough with young children or be provoked into showing aggressive behavior. Even the most friendly pet may react aggressively if your toddler teases it frequently.
  • How to Childproof a Home 

    While there are steps you can take to make your home safer for young children, it’s important to stress that it’s virtually impossible to fully childproof a house or apartment. By keeping a close eye on your child, you can establish an extra level of protection and make sure they aren’t getting into anything dangerous. In addition, you can implement some of the childproofing tactics below.

    Use Child-Safe Covers

    Limiting access to dangerous items by covering them can reduce a substantial amount of risk to your child. Child-safe covers for outlets can prevent your child from sticking their fingers or an item into the outlet and significantly lower the chances of an electrocution accident. Installing window guards reduces the risk of a fall. Any items capable of heating up to a dangerous temperature, such as your stovetop or radiator, should be equipped with protective material. 

    Install Protective Devices

    Your stairs, furniture, and other household items can pose a serious threat to your child’s safety. You can take measures to make your home a safer place for toddlers and young children by:

     

    • Using anchors to keep heavy furniture and appliances from falling over if pulled or pushed
    • Installing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairwells to prevent falls
    • Using anti-scald devices on shower heads and faucets to lower the chances of a water burn happening
    • Placing bumpers on sharp corners, such as the ends of a table 
    • Using secure door locks and door knob covers to limit access to rooms or parts of your house that aren’t adequately childproofed
    • Installing cordless window coverings to reduce the risk of strangulation

    Secure Dangerous Materials

    All chemicals, medications, and other compounds should be secured in a cabinet or storage space with a durable childproof lock to prevent poisonings. Small objects, such as puzzle pieces or small toys, should not be left on the floor or anywhere a toddler can get their hands on them. Candles, lighters, plastic bags, and matches should be put away in a secure place. If your home has any weapons, make sure they are locked away. 

    Make Your Pool as Safe as Possible

    The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that “more children ages 1-4 die from drowning than any other cause of death.” If you have a private swimming pool, it is absolutely essential to childproof it as effectively as possible. The best way to do so is by using what is known as “layers of protection.” Layers of protection refers to using simultaneous childproofing methods to reduce the risk of an accident.

    To begin with, ensure that your pool is fully enclosed with a barrier, such as a fence or exterior wall. Make sure that a child does not have enough space to crawl under or through the fence. Doors leading to the pool area should be self-locking or feature an alarm, and you may consider adding a pool alarm as an additional level of protection. Never leave your child unattended on the pool deck, even if you just need to go inside to grab something quickly. 

    Check Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms Frequently

    House fires or gas leaks can put your entire family at risk. Make sure that you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your home, including outside of all sleeping areas. Every level of your home should have at least one smoke alarm. Check alarms monthly to make sure they are working properly and replace the batteries annually. Alternatively, you can use ten-year batteries. 

    Protecting Your Child By Creating a Safe Home

    Although it is impossible to entirely minimize any chances of an accident occurring in your home, thoroughly childproofing your living spaces can reduce the risk of serious injury or death. We hope this article helps you keep your child safe and healthy as they grow up in your home.


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