Babies and toddlers learn best when they’re free to explore the world around them. As a parent or caregiver, it’s your job to provide baby with a fun and, most importantly, safe world to explore. Ensure your child can experiment, explore, and learn to their fullest abilities by properly childproofing your home.
Sadly, accidents are a leading cause of death among young children. Our Room-by-Room guide shows you how to childproof the most commonly accessed areas of your home and provides basic tips for reducing your child’s chances of encountering dangerous, sometimes fatal, accidents.
Bedroom, living room, family room, dining room
- Remove any small items that could cause choking.
- Use outlet plug covers to prevent electrocution.
- Cover active outlets with locking safety boxes.
- Secure electrical cords and use cord shorteners where possible.
- Plug in appliances at counter level; don’t create a situation where your child can tug on a cord, pulling an appliance down on top of him or her.
- If you have blinds, secure the cords high out of reach, and cut their ends to lessen any danger of strangulation.
- Cover sharp, pointy corners like those on coffee tables.
- If you have bookshelves, empty out and reserve the lower shelves for your little one’s toys and books.
- Secure all large pieces of furniture, such as bookshelves and dressers, to walls.
- If you have a fireplace, secure the screen to prevent your child from reaching inside.
- If you have stairs, put baby-safe, non-pinching gates at both the top and bottom of the staircase.
- Consider moving couches and chairs away from the windows to prevent climbing near a window.
- Store tablecloths away until your child is older; a young child can easily yank on a tablecloth, causing items to fall down on top of him or her.
- Remove all small items, including refrigerator magnets, that could be choking hazards.
- Lock any cabinets or drawers containing sharp items like knives, or poisonous items like drain cleaner, bleach, dishwashing liquid, and insect sprays and baits like ant traps.
- Keep one unlocked designated “safe” cabinet that your little one can play in when you’re in the kitchen. Store plastic bowls, small pots, large wooden spoons, and other child-friendly items in these safe cabinets.
- Keep the dishwasher door locked.
- When you’re cooking, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. You don’t want any handles hanging over to tempt your little one.
- Lock cabinets and drawers in the bathroom.
- Store bath products out of baby’s reach or behind locked doors.
- Store all medicine behind locked doors, and try not to let your child see you take pills. They look like candy, and your little one might become unnecessarily intrigued.
- Attach the toilet top to the toilet seat using a child toilet lock.
- Never, ever leave your child unattended in the bathtub!
Outdoor spaces and Garages
- Keep the door to the garage locked at all times; when your child is able to turn a door knob, put door knob safety covers on all inside doors. Never allow your child to enter the garage without your supervision.
- Store away paints, insect killer, and other hazardous materials behind locked doors.
- Put tools and all sharp objects away and out of a child’s reach.
- Never leave your child unattended out of the house. As in the garage, there just are too many dangers lurking. It’s best to let your little one explore outdoors with you sticking beside him or her at all times.
- Ensure garden tools and hoses are put away and secured. Ensure all outdoor furniture is safe and functional. Remove any items from table tops that baby could easily pull down.
Last but not least…
- If you haven’t done so already, install smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector in each room of your home. Both can save lives.
Keeping an uninterrupted eye on your little one is the safest thing you can do for him or her, but that isn’t always possible. Knowing that your home is childproofed gives you the back-up you need at those unexpected times when your child manages to scoot out of sight.
National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC. 10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/leading_causes_of_death_by_age_group_2017-508.pdf