It’s not long before newborns who need their parents to cater to their every need become toddlers who can’t wait to go exploring on their own. The curiosity can come quickly, which underscores how important it is for parents to childproof their homes.
"We urge parents to childproof their homes early because the curiosity can come quickly," said Steele Dehmer, PLCS, and agency owner at Madison's Dehmer Insurance Agency. "I know because we have two little boys who are into everything."
Childproofing is essential in the nursery where children tend to spend much of their time, but it’s necessary elsewhere in the house as well.
One hospital for children says fractures are the most common injuries among infants and toddlers as they develop a sense of curiosity and gain mobility. Head and mouth/tooth injuries are some additional injuries curious kids may suffer during this period in their lives. This childproofing checklist can help reduce the risk of injury.
• Follow United States Consumer Product Safety Commission crib safety regulations, which include fixed sides, a firm mattress and slats that are no more than 23⁄8 inches apart.
• Install UL-listed carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors on every story of the house and check batteries in detectors frequently.
• Install a temperature guard on the water heater and never set it above 120 F.
• Cover all sharp furniture edges and corners with safety padding or specialty bumpers.
• Block all open outlets with outlet covers or safety plugs.
• Place lockable covers on the garbage.
• Install stove knob covers.
• Use latches on any drawers, toilets, doors, or cabinets within the child’s reach.
• Anchor heavy furniture, such as televisions, bookshelves and dressers, to the walls.
• Install safety guards on windows.
• Pull the crib away from other furniture.
• Use cordless window blinds.
• Place gates at the top and bottom of stairs and use them to prevent access to rooms that are off limits.
• Store cleaning supplies, tools and breakable items out of reach or in a locked cabinet.
• When the child reaches 35 inches in height or can climb out of the crib, it’s time to transition to a toddler bed.
• Choose toy chests or other furniture with spring-loaded hinges.
• Do not hang heavy wall art or shelving over cribs.
• Cover radiators, hot pipes, etc., with protective materials.
• Remove flaking paint and be sure to have paint tested for lead.
• Inspect the home for protruding nails, bolts or other hardware that can cause injury.
These are some childproofing measures parents can implement to keep kids safe. Parents can customize childproofing plans based on their needs and the designs of their homes. Consult with a pediatrician for other tips on making a home safe for young children.