Childproofing your home is a continuous process. As your child develops new skills and becomes ever more capable of exploring the environment, new hazards will arise. The parents’ challenge is to anticipate these new abilities in advance, and modify the home to allow the child to navigate freely but safely.
- Childproofing begins on day one with safe positioning of the infant.
- Infants should sleep on their backs in a crib free of pillows, heavy blankets or other objects that could pose a risk of entrapment or suffocation.
- Set your water heater thermostat to a maximum of 120 degrees F to prevent scalding.
- Bath water should be no hotter than 100 degrees.
- Infants and toddlers are naturally inclined to mouth objects as a way of exploring them.
- Small or breakable objects that could pose a choking hazard must always be kept out of their reach.
When infants become mobile – first rolling and crawling, and eventually walking and climbing – they will be able to reach places that may not have been previously childproofed.
- Get down on the floor and look up to find potential hazards.
- Make sure doors are secured and stairwells are blockaded.
- Plug electrical outlets
- Place safety latches on cabinets, and keep hazardous substances including cleaning fluids, alcoholic beverages, garden and painting supplies out of reach at all times.
- Be aware of objects that a toddler might grab which may be hot, sharp, heavy or breakable.
- Remove any plants that they may try to eat.
When away from home – outdoors or at another’s home – be especially vigilant for hazards your child may have access to.
Finally, in the event of an accident, always have ready access to emergency numbers such as the local fire department and your pediatrician. For suspected ingestions or toxic exposures, you should call the Poison Control hotline: 1-800-222-1212.
Dr. Tom Odinak