We can better protect our children, particularly youngsters between the ages of one and four, by effectively childproofing our homes and the homes where our children spend time. Sadly, children between the ages of one and four are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by any other means. We have the opportunity to prevent these tragedies by taking steps to create a safe haven for our youngest family members.
tips on childproofing your home:
•Scope out the territory. Get down on your hands and knees before your baby starts crawling (around six months), walking, and climbing to determine which cupboards or drawers he might pull down, what spaces he might get stuck or injured in, and what furniture or appliances he might be able to pull down.
•Use caution with furniture and fixtures. Bookcases, dressers, and appliances can fall on children. Bolt furniture to the wall possible. Cover all sharp corners and edges of furniture with soft material like foam pieces or cloth to soften the impact if your child falls into them. Check out this video from Consumer Reports for more information on securing furniture in your home.
•Install gates. Look for child safety gates that your child can't dislodge, but that you can easily open and close. Install gates that screw to the wall rather than those that stay put by using pressure for added security.
•Secure your windows. Window blinds pose a particular hazard because a baby's neck could become entangled in the cords. Tie blind cords so that they are out of reach. To prevent falls from windows, install window guards that screw into the side of a window frame, have bars no more than 4 inches apart, and can be adjusted to fit windows of many different sizes.
•Prevent poisoning. Keep all poisonous products out of your child's reach. Put safety locks on all cabinets and drawers that hold bug sprays, cleaning products, medications, and other poisons.
•Prevent drowning. Most in-home drowning deaths occur in bathtubs. Never leave your baby unattended in the tub for any amount of time. Also, an adult should be present at all times when your child is swimming. If you have a pool, you may be required by law to install a fence and safety gates.
•Prevent fires. Experts say having a working smoke alarm can cut the chances of dying in a fire in half. Install smoke alarms in every room of the house and at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor. Check them monthly to be sure they're working, and change the batteries at least once a year. Fire officials recommend you change your clocks for daylight savings in March and November.
•Prepare for an emergency. Program emergency numbers into your home and cell phone and keep a list of these numbers in a visible area for you and others to easily access. Stock up on first-aid supplies.