This is a guest post written by Bryn Huntpalmer.
While kids do need to learn from their mistakes, and there are bound to be some bumps, bruises, and tears that come with those “learning experiences,” there are definite hazards in our homes from which we absolutely want to protect our children. Beyond latches to keep your drawers and cabinets locked, and gates to keep children off of stairs or out of certain rooms, here are some very important areas of your home that need childproofing.
Start With the Television
Your television and the area around it can be very stimulating for a little one. Unfortunately, heavy objects, electronics, cords, and easily handled objects like germ-ridden remote controls make this area of your home very dangerous for your child.
Keep the area clean. Remove any potential items of interests from your entertainment center. If you don’t have drawers, look for containers with lids. If you have a flat screen television, mount it on the wall, out of your child’s reach. If you have an older style television that can not be mounted, purchase an anchor or wall strap. These are easy to find online, as they are standard practice in areas affected by earthquakes. Also tidy up any cords so that your child isn’t tempted to play with them or stick them in their mouth.
Furniture straps are something to consider for any other object that your child might be able to pull over onto himself, like a dresser or bookshelf. It’s a very inexpensive investment that will give you much more peace of mind.
Be on the Lookout for Choking and Suffocation Hazards
Our homes are full of choking hazards for curious and teething children. On my end table right now I have a pair of earrings, a chapstick, and some spare change. Not good! Install good locks on your drawers or keep lidded containers handy so that you can easily store small items before little hands can get to them. Regularly get down on the ground in every room in your house and look for choking hazards that are within reach of children.
I would encourage you not to store items in plastic bags. They’re not a particularly effective storage strategy, nor are they kind to the environment, but most importantly, they present a suffocation risk. If you must use plastic bags, make sure to tie a knot at the end of them so that nothing else can get into them and store them high and out of your child’s reach.
Secure Your Dishwasher
Your dishwasher may seem relatively harmless as it keeps breakable items out of a child’s sight, but it is also easily accessed and full of potential danger. Keep your dishwasher latched closed at all times, and just in case the latch fails, store sharp knives downward and don’t put toxic dishwasher detergent into the machine until you are ready to run it. After a load, make sure you wipe away any residue.
Skip the Soft Bedding
While we may want to crawl into a bed with soft blankets and pillows, our babies need just the opposite. Soft bedding can mold around a baby’s face and suffocate it. This includes thick bumper pads, pillows, stuffed animals or other toys. Make sure that your baby’s bedding fits tight to the mattress. Always put them to sleep on their back and consider using a blanket sleeper to keep them warm.
Don’t forget to avoid mini-blinds in your child’s room, too. Those long cords used to maneuver blinds are very strong and present a strangulation risk to your children and your pets.
Carefully Inspect Hand-Me-Down Items
There is a huge movement to recycle and repurpose, but you want to closely inspect any toys or gear (high chairs, car seats, swings, etc.) for your child that may have broken parts, lead paint, or not meet current safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a good place to start to investigate whether or not something is safe for your child to use.
And While You’re Focused on Childproofing, Don’t Lock Yourself Out!
You definitely want to be well informed of potential risks to your child, but also be careful reading too much about childproofing–it will make you a nervous wreck and the whole family will end up wrapped in bubble wrap. Just be smart, proactive, and attentive and you’ll be fine!
For more tips and tricks, head to Modernize.com.