Childproofing your home seems like an unnecessary task at times, but when you consider some of the statistics regarding child injuries in the home, you begin to realise that even the smallest prevention measures go a long way. Mwereti Kanjo picks up some important tips from various sources on child-proofing your home.
Now is the time to get started, whether you already have a baby, or if it is on the way. Before you know it, your baby will be rolling, crawling, and walking his way into everything.Â Consider the following hazards and remedies:
Stoves, Ovens and Other Appliances
Toddlers are able to reach burners, pot handles, and sometimes even knobs. Ovens can be opened and crawled into. Refrigerators contain many items that are choking hazards and they are airtight, which could cause a child to suffocate if they manage to shut themselves inside.
Remedy: Install locking latches on all appliances that open and close. They are locally found in our supermarkets. Put knob covers to prevent a child from turning on burners, and a stove guard to protect hands. Always keep pot handles turned inward while cooking.
Cabinets and Drawers
Cabinets and drawers can contain sharp objects, chemicals, medications, and other chocking items.
Remedy: Install latches to the insides of drawers and cabinets. Use knob latches on doors. If you have an irregular cabinet and you canâ€™t find a latch that fits, consider emptying the cabinet or making it a spot for toys and other safe objects. Keep poisons and chemicals completely out of a babyâ€™s reach.
Many plants are poisonous and can cause illness or death. Potting materials pose a choking hazard.
Remedy: Be aware of the types of plants you keep, and make sure they are labeled. Do not use rocks or marbles in potting materials, or as a ground cover for plants. Keep poisonous plants well out of reach, preferably outside the home.
Vases and Decorative Glassware
Hazards: Vases, decorative bowls, and glassware, can break and cause cuts. Many artificial flowers have small parts that can break off and cause choking.
Remedy: Put all vases and other dangerous decorations out of the reach of children. It may be tempting to leave some items out in order to â€œteachâ€ your child about off-limits objects, but itâ€™s safer in the long run to just remove them.
Most tables, unless round, have sharp corners. Coffee tables are especially hazardous because as babies learn to walk, they use these low tables to â€œcruise.â€
Remedy: Install table cushions. There are some brands that just fit on corners and others that go all the way around the table. You can also make your own padding system or remove any tables that might cause injury until your child is older.
More than half of all non-fatal injuries to children are from falls. Many of these falls involve unprotected stairways. In addition, baby walkers cause more injuries than any other type of nursery product when used on stairs.
Remedy: Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. For the top of stairs, make sure that the gate has a secure latch. Keep stairs free of clutter that could cause a fall not only for your baby, but for you as well. Always supervise a young child as they learn to climb stairs. If you feel you must use a walker, make sure you never allow your child to use it near stairs.Â