It’s just impossible to tell your toddler not to touch anything or put anything in their mouths as this is the stage in their development when they investigate the world around them as part of their learning process. It’s also impossible not to drop the ball when you have ran around all day in the office and then run after the kids when you get home: something’s got to give, and at some point during dinner time (when accidents are most common), the child is going to bump his head, break something and cut his finger, or your nightmare come true, choke on her toys.
While you can do your best to be super parents and provide the close supervision that curious toddlers require, make it easier for you and safer for your young one if you start with a childproof house. Of course, you can’t baby proof a house 100%, but the following tips offer a solid start.
If you can’t hide outlets behind heavy furniture, close them off with safety plugs or safety covers to prevent kids from sticking their fingers or pins into them. Repair exposed outlets and cover them as well.
Turn down the water temperature to at most 110°F. And never leave the baby in the bathtub for even a minute; they can easily drown in an inch of water. Put nonskid strips on the floors to keep the child – and even adults – from slipping. Also cover the faucet head, keep shower cords out of reach, and install toilet lid locks. Prevent your child from running into sliding-glass doors by decorating them with decals.
Lower the crib mattress when the child starts crawling, and remove things inside the crib like bumper pads and toys that he or she can use to climb out. Lock all the drawers as children may use the open ones to climb unto the top of the cabinet. Also fasten cabinets and other light furniture onto the wall to keep them from toppling over the child. Banish rickety furniture and lock them away in the garage. Install windows guards, cordless window treatments, and safety glass so they won’t shatter when a child falls into them.
Never install a gate at the top of the stairs as the child can climb over it and fall from a much higher height. Install gates at the bottom of the stairway instead to prevent them from crawling up. Keep the stairway clear from toys and other items at all times to prevent anyone, especially adults carrying children, from slipping.
Cabinets and Doors
Install doorknob covers and locks especially on easy to reach doors and drawers regardless of their content. Children are likely to put anything they can find in these places inside their mouths or experiment with them that can lead to other accidents like cuts and burns.
Never let a child play at your feet while you are cutting or cooking. Something scalding may spill out of the stove and unto the child at your feet. Use the back burners when cooking, and turn the handles of pots and pans away from the child’s grasp after their use. Always keep anything sizzling or boiling or simmering well-attended so you prevent children from grabbing them. Keep all small kitchen appliances and all sharp objects on the top drawers. Lock all the cabinets especially those that contain harmful cleaners. Take the stove knobs out after cooking as children may play with these and start fire. Lock garbage cans as these may contain sharp objects or bacterial hazards.
Empty drinks and ashtrays after a party at home as these can be toxic to children when ingested. Keep all cords out of their reach and cushion sharp edges and corners of tables with padded guards. Place all curios on the top of the bookshelf to eliminate choking hazards. Suspend all plants from the ceiling using hangers to prevent children from pulling at the leaves and toppling the plants on top of them.
Pets and Pet Supplies
Move all food dishes unto the top shelf. Find a place for cat litter away from the usual environment of your child as the litter contains parasites that could lead to toxoplasmosis which damages the brain, eyes and other organs. Given the seriousness of contamination, always handle poop, and cat litter especially, with gloved hands. Move the baby out of the pet’s area when the pet is feeding to prevent the child from mimicking the pet and joining them for dinner.