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Tips on Childproofing Your Home
Increased mobility goes hand in hand with increased curiosity – as you have surely already recognized in your active baby. As your child reaches new milestones such as crawling and walking, your child’s world is rapidly expanding to include the entire house, the yard and beyond. Now is definitely the time to childproof his environment. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Get down and explore the potential dangers in your home from your child’s perspective. If you can see them, you can bet that your child will find them in the blink of an eye.
- Move breakable or dangerous objects - knick-knacks, picture frames, matches, kitchen knives, etc. - high out of reach. You may need to keep moving things up as your baby’s reach expands.
- Ensure that hazardous materials - cleaning materials, medication, alcohol, poisonous substances such as printer ink or garden fertilizer, etc. - are locked securely away.
- Install gates at stairways.
- Install safety latches on cupboard doors and drawers. You may also wish to lock up the refrigerator, chest freezer and toilet.
- Place the highchair far from heat sources, curtain cords, tables, plants and countertops.
- Set the water heater temperature to 48°C (118°F) so that it is hot enough to kill bacteria, but not hot enough to burn tender skin.
- Cover electrical plugs and encase cords, wires and strings.
- Remove or secure unsteady furniture that may fall over, such as rickety tables or floor lamps. Be aware of sharp edges that may harm your child if he should fall.
- Don’t hang potholders or tea towels on the handle of the oven door. They are very tempting for a baby to grab and the oven may be hot.
- Put the dog’s food and water bowls out of reach.
- Put a lid on the garbage can. Lock the trash compactor.
- Choose appliances, such as a dishwasher, with a “child lock” option when possible.
- Remove locks from doors or make sure that your child cannot lock himself inside a room.
- Place a non-skid mat in the bathtub and a cover over the tub spout to avoid dripping hot water. Never leave your child unattended in the bath.
- Install ULC-compliant smoke detectors outside each bedroom and sleeping area, and on each level of your home, including the basement.
- Check toys regularly for broken bits or sharp edges.
- Constantly remind your child of safety rules, such as “Don’t go near the stove; Don’t run into the street; Don’t touch the electrical outlets.”
And finally, remember that childproofing your home doesn't replace the need for close supervision. Always keep a close eye on your active baby to keep him safe.
Childproof Your Home, Canadian Living, Christine Langlois Health Canada (smoke detectors)