When a child enters your life, there are so many things to think about and so many decisions to be made that childproofing often falls through the cracks. But, childproofing is important to save your child from many common household dangers- some that you may not even be aware of.
When beginning childproofing, it is helpful to get down to floor level and take a look around. This is what your child will see. What is at that height? Often it is cabinets that contain harmful substances, or knickknacks that would be better kept elsewhere. When you see a danger at floor level, relocate it. Breakables can be stored at the top of a closet, and latches should be put on every cabinet within reach.
There are several types of cabinet latches that work well, but it often depends on what kind of cabinet pull you have. There are small “c-locks” that hold cabinet with handles shut. If the cabinet has small pulls, a lock that is installed on the inside and unlocks with a magnetic key is a sure way to keep children out.
For appliances, there are many simple to install latches that will work for many types of appliances. These are commonly used for refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers. There are also stove guards that can be installed easily and without tools that can keep small hands away from the burners.
One item that is often overlooked is the standard two-piece door stoppers installed in most houses. These have a rubber tip that can come off. This is a serious chocking hazard for young kids, and should be removed. There are one-piece plastic doorstoppers that can replace the dangerous two-piece kind.
After a fair appraisal at ground level, it is a good idea to look at all of the low surfaces of the house. Even if a child can not see an item, the child may still be able to reach up and grab it. Anything that is heavy, breakable, or unsteady, it should be moved to higher ground.
Houseplants are also a potential source of danger. Not only are many houseplants themselves dangerous, but the potting soil they are in may have harmful chemical fertilizers in it. Houseplants should also be kept at a high level when babies and toddlers are in the house.
The bathroom poses a particular challenge to a lot of parents. The bathroom can be a dangerous place, and there are many items that need childproofing. There are many good toilet latches on the market that install easily and do not cause any harm to the toilet. Cabinet locks are a must in the bathroom, as these cabinets usually carry a variety of poisonous substances. The bathtub spout can also pose a threat to kids in the bathtub. To prevent any bruises from spouts, many parents install an inflatable spout guard to eliminate bumped heads.
These are some of the common dangers that are present in households, but your home may vary. Take a look around often- childproofing is an ongoing process that will change as the child ages.