Your toddler’s most important job is to be curious and active. In doing so, however, your little one can get into trouble quickly.
Childproofing your home is best done in stages, before your child reaches the next stage of mobility—sitting and reaching, crawling, standing, walking, running, jumping and climbing. Anticipate what could pose a hazard and deal with it before it does.
Print out this toddler childproofing info sheet and checklist below and take it with you as you check each area of your home.
1. Get down on your hands and knees and look around your home from your toddler’s view.
__ As you go from room to room, try to think of your child’s next move.
__ Look for hidden dangers, such as choking or poisoning hazards (hard candies, coins and coin-sized lithium batteries, etc.).
__ Move all cleaning products and medicines (including vitamins) out of your child’s reach.
2. If you haven’t already, install:
__ Baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs and in the doorways to the kitchen and bathrooms
__ Safety covers on all electrical outlets, and possibly on stove controls
__ Safety locks on all windows and cabinets
__ Window guards (to prevent falls out of a window)
3. Take these important safety precautions:
__ Wrap any dangling cords in a cord retainer so your child cannot pull an appliance or lamp down on himself. Keep children away from electrical outlets and use plastic outlet protectors.
__ Keep floors free of toys and clothing to prevent tripping. Older kids 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, batteries, latex balloons and candies out of the reach of babies and young children.
__ Keep all 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 that babies or children could climb on away from windows.
__ Never leave a baby or toddler in the bath without supervision. Take your child 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 cribs, highchairs, playpens and toddlers away from curtain cords, which pose a strangulation hazard.
__ Pad the sharp corners of furniture or remove such pieces.
__ Secure tippable furniture wherever possible. Use wall attachments for tippable bureaus, TV stands, bookshelves, etc.
__ Keep candy, gum, uninflated or popped balloons, marbles, disc batteries and other choking hazards out of a baby’s or young child’s reach.
__ Store emergency numbers (for police, fire, ambulance and poison control) in your cellphone, and either next to your landline (if you have one) or in an easily accessible place in your home.
See also ...
- Overview to childproofing your home – from the National Safety Council
- 12 child safety devices for the home – from the Consumer Product Safety Commission
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