Home Walk-Through Tips
You’re at the Starting Line
We’re parents too. We know it can be overwhelming to think about what to do and where to start baby proofing your home. Here are some helpful tips to get you started. Remember, baby proofing is not a substitute for adult supervision or teaching your kids right from wrong. Consider it an on-going process and it can be done in phases.
Use the back burners whenever possible. If you have to use the front burners, make sure to turn the pot handles toward the back of the stove. It is common for children to reach up and pull on a handle and scald themselves with food or boiling water.
Make sure to point all knives and forks down. Children like to “help” load and unload the dishwasher so this will prevent them from cutting themselves.
Cabinets & Drawers
Move all chemicals out from under the sink and store them up high, out of reach, and locked up. Install cabinet and drawer latches to protect children from dangerous contents including chemicals, cleaning supplies, baggies and tin foil, breakables, knives, heavy pots and pans, batteries, pens, coins, and scissors.
Window Dressing Cords
Make sure cords are out of reach (do NOT position a crib near a window) and use shorteners or cleats.
Tables and Chairs
Consider padding the edges of tables to avoid bumps and bruises. Also, check under tables and chairs for protruding screws, nails, staples and sharp tacks. This will help avoid injury when (not if) a child crawls underneath.
Some children pull off vent covers. This can be dangerous because of exposed sheet metal and screws, not to mention the damage that can be done if toys, etc. are put into the vents. Consider securing them.
Even if a plant is not poisonous, it can still be a hazard to children. Fertilizers can be dangerous and little ones can choke on leaves and dirt.
Tall and/or Heavy furniture
Children climb on everything. They often pull out drawers and use them as steps to climb up onto furniture or pull higher drawers open and hang from them. Avoid furniture tip-overs. Make sure to attach furniture to the wall or block off the area where it is located.
Children like to climb into fireplaces. Cover or block them off in some way. All supplies such as wood, chips, pokers, and matches should be locked up high in a closet. Remove the key if it is a gas fireplace. If you have a raised hearth, consider padding the edges.
Kids can easily pull off the rubber tip and swallow it. Replace all doorstops in your home with one-piece doorstops.
Consider temporarily storing glass artwork/figures, picture frames, shelves, and even tables in a room that your little ones do not have access to or up high and out of reach.
Potpourri, scented soaps, and dried flowers may look good and smell nice but they are choking hazards.
Children are fascinated with toilets and like to play with them. They can also easily break them by flushing toys, excess paper, etc. down them. Little ones can also drown in them! Use toilet lid locks.
Make sure the bottom of the tub is non-slip. Also, use a spout cover and pad the edge of the tub. Remember, a child’s skin burns at 120 degrees. Prevent scalding by using a tub thermometer and setting your water heater to a maximum temperature of less than 120 degrees. Babies can also drown in less than 2” of water and in less than 30 seconds. NEVER leave a child unattended in the bath, even if placed in a tub seat or infant tub.
Banisters should not be more than 3.5” apart. A child can get his or her head, or more likely the torso, stuck or even fall through if playing near railings with large spacing. If the banisters are more than 3.” inches apart use Plexiglass to make a clear wall.
NEVER use a pressure gate on stairs. They become loose over time and also present a trip hazard. Use a wall-mounted gate that is secured into the studs on the wall for all staircases.
Do not stack or put anything such as a chair, a crib, or bed under a window. This poses the risk of having a child fall out of the window. (Children may push through or lean on the window and/or screen and fall through. They may even fall out due to jumping on a bed.) Remember, a screen will not stop a child or object from falling out. Make sure windows cannot be opened more than 4” and/or are blocked with Window Guards.
Make sure rugs do not slide. Use non-slip carpet tape or non-skid mesh underneath.
Use Childproofing Products Correctly
Train older children, babysitters, caregivers, and visitors on how to properly use child safety items in your home. It only takes one time for a cabinet to be left open, a toilet to be left unlocked, or a gate left open for an accident to happen.
Keep all medications, cleaners, cosmetics, plants, and other poisonous substances in their original packaging so they are labeled correctly and include the ingredients. That way, if your child ever ingests an item you can give accurate information to a poison control center or emergency medical team.
Older Children’s Toys
Keep older children’s toys away from younger children. Toys are age-specific and those for kids ages 4+ have smaller parts, which pose a choking hazard for infants and toddlers.
Check floors for small objects that can pose a choking hazard; move breakable items like figurines, ceramics, vases, etc. to higher locations where children cannot reach them.
Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and lit candles out of children’s reach.
Do not use tablecloths or placemats with little ones in your home. Kids often pull on tablecloths to try to pull themselves up. They also reach up onto tables and pull on whatever is there. Be mindful of what is on the table and always supervise your child if there is any hot food, utensils, etc. on the table.
Keep all remotes for electronics and cars, as well as all musical cards out of your child’s reach as the batteries in these items pose a serious hazard.