Child-Proof Your Home
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn
As much as you love your kids, they can simply drive you crazy sometimes - especially during the terrible twos! Sure, you want them to move freely and have fun, even when indoors. However, sometimes you probably get worried they're not just going to break a lot of household items, but they might also break a leg or two in the process if you're not careful. The good news is, there are a lot of smart and simple ways you can childproof your home.
Your worry doesn't end with their wrestling and horseplay, though. There are other things that may pose a threat to your kids as well, such as electricity, fire, and poisonous substances. It's not enough that you take all these precautionary measures by yourself and hope your kids never get to dangerous items, or find a way around them; you also have to get your kids involved. Talk to them in a way that will help them understand what can hurt them or get them in deep trouble. Don't underestimate your kids because they're way smarter than you sometimes give them credit for. Try talking to them as early as age one to two years old, when they can better absorb things, like a sponge.
When is the best time to make your home childproof? As soon as you find out you're expecting is when all the planning should start. The good thing about starting early is that you will have about nine months to prepare, which ought to be enough time to get everything in place. Childproofing won't be so intimidating if you've already experienced baby-proofing before.
Things don't have to be so overwhelming if you know how to take it all in stride. Do the "restructuring" section by section. You can start with the kitchen, then go on to the living room, then the bedrooms, bathrooms, and so on. Before you know it, it's done. You can even take it a step further by childproofing your car or other ways to keep your kids safe outside of your home. Then again, that's a whole different story. Here are some simple yet effective steps to make your home safe and child-friendly.
- 1Make sure all drawers and cabinets have their safety latches on to prevent your children from reaching the poisonous household chemicals.Advertisement
- 2Keep your pots and pans out of reach by turning their handles toward the back of your stove.Advertisement
- 3Avoid putting heavy and pointed kitchen wares at the edge of tables or kitchen counters, so they won't topple over.
- 4Label poisonous materials appropriately with Mr. Yuk stickers to make it easier for kids to remember not to touch them.
- 1Keep the lids of your toilets closed by having toilet locks installed. Remember that kids are more prone to leaning and falling into the toilet and can easily drown in very shallow water.Advertisement
- 2Label poisonous substances appropriately.
- 3Avoid burning accidents by installing anti-scalding devices on your shower heads and faucets.
- 4Ensure everything is unplugged after you use them, such as hair dryers, to prevent electrocution.
- 5Put safety caps on electrical outlets when not in use, and make sure all areas with water sources nearby have GFCIs to turn them off automatically as soon as they fall into the water.
Other household areas
- 1Your stairs at the top and bottom must have safety gates to prevent them from going down or climbing up.
Tips to prevent poisoning
- 1Restrict kids' access to cabinets by installing locks and latches.
- 2Never underestimate your child's ability to open or climb anything. Keep them out of reach and out of sight. Lock them up and hide them away.
- 3Never, ever transfer poisonous substances into food containers. Yes, recycling is good, but it can be downright deadly if you're careless.
- 4Needless to say, never put your poisonous items together with your food items. Always place them away from each other, especially those that look a lot like food.
- 5Store poisonous materials right after use. Never leave them lying around, even just for a few seconds. A lot of things can happen in a short span of time.
- 6Keep a safe and separate receptacle for medications and poisonous household products when you're about to discard them.
- 7Avoid mixing products to prevent dangerous fumes from forming.
- 8All medications have to be placed in containers that are child-resistant.
- 9If you like having indoor plants make sure they're out of reach because a lot of them can be poisonous.
- 10Be alert for potential signs and symptoms of poisoning in children and know exactly what to do when they occur.
Tips for preventing fire at home
- 1Put smoke detectors and alarms in your kitchen, bedrooms, stoves and fireplaces. At least one smoke detector per floor is recommended.
- 2Change your detector's batteries at least once annually.
- 3Keep your fire extinguisher near your kitchen and have it checked annually. Make sure you know how to use it properly.
- 4Teach your children how to use matches properly, and what to do with electrical sockets, cords, household chemicals and stoves.
- 5Engage in fire drills regularly - every other month or so - to keep things fresh in their memory.
Tips for proper toy safety measures
- 1Get age appropriate toys for your kids, as toys for older children may pose safety hazards to younger ones.
- 2Do not give children under three years old toys with small parts as they may put it inside their mouths and choke on them.
- 3Stuffed toys are okay as long as they have secured body parts, such as the noses, eyes, etc.
- 4Avoid giving toys with pointed or sharp edges, or those with strings long enough to strangle a child.
- 5Avoid buying electric toys that have heating elements in them for kids seven and below.
- 6Follow safety recommendations and labels on toys, and read and follow instructions carefully.
- 7Make sure your kids have safety gear whenever they go out and take their bikes, scooters, or skates for a ride to prevent possible injuries.
It's quite a long list, but it's worth your while to refresh your mind on the smart ways to childproof your home. Monitor your kids' games and toys regularly to ensure their safety at all times. Happy parenting!