Childproofing the Home

Q:  “How do I go about child-proofing my home?”

A:  Babies’ most important job is to be curious and active, yet in doing so they can get into trouble quickly. Take measures to prevent accidents in the home. Baby-proof each room in stages, before your child reaches the next stage of mobility—crawling, standing and walking.

Start by getting down on your hands and knees and looking around your home from your baby’s view. As you go from room to room, try to think of your child’s next move.

Childproofing Tips

  • Wrap dangling cords in a cord retainer so your child cannot pull an appliance or lamp down on himself. Keep babies away from electrical outlets and use plastic outlet protectors.

  • Keep floors free of toys and clothing to prevent tripping. Older children should store toys with small parts out of the reach of siblings who might choke on them.

  • Keep plants, large cleaning buckets and supplies, medicines, hot drinks, small toys, coins and candies out of the reach of babies.

  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

  • Keep children on riding toys away from stairs, porches, cars and in-ground pools.

  • Lock all unopened windows. Open windows from the top and keep furniture children could climb on away from windows.

  • Don’t leave a baby alone on a sofa, bed, or changing table while you answer the phone or doorbell. Never leave young children in the bath without supervision—take them with you if you must leave, even for an instant.

  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and outside each sleeping area. Periodically test the batteries and change them yearly.

  • Develop a fire escape plan and make sure all family members know what to do in case of fire. Practice your plan.

  • Use nightlights in children’s rooms, hallways and the bathroom.

  • Always close outer doors securely behind you and teach your older children to do the same, so that a small child cannot get outside on his own.

  • Keep playpens and children away from curtain cords, which pose a strangulation hazard.

  • Pad the sharp corners of furniture or remove such pieces.

  • Keep candy, gum, uninflated or popped balloons and other choking hazards out of reach.

  • Repeatedly tell children why certain situations or activities are dangerous.

  • Post telephone numbers for police, fire, ambulance and poison control next to your telephone.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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