Basic Home Childproofing Ideas
Most often parents-to-be have already run through the list of items in the home that need to be childproofed long before the baby is set to arrive, but there are many aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends who may have never thought to go through the home, look for dangers to a child, and completely child-proof the home. In this article, we are giving all those babysitters a basic guide to quick-childproofing a home in preparation for watching the little ones in your home.
Quite possibly the most dangerous room in the home for a wandering child, the potential dangers can be way too many to count. Without going into complete anal-retentive details, here are a few things to watch out for in the kitchen.
Chemicals and Cabinets with Hazards — It may not be best for you to go all out and install child locks on all of your cupboards just for a few days worth of babysitting, though going through the lower cabinets in your kitchen is a quick chore to do, and can greatly add to the safety of the child. If you have chemicals and cleaners below your sink, it may be best to move them out to a garage or well ventilated storage space while the child is in the home; if the child does happen to get into the cabinet, at least you can rest assured that there are no hazardous chemicals they can ingest. Purchase a large amount of strong rubber bands that will make temporary locks for the cupboards…. they will not keep out burglars, but will be enough of a deterrent to keep children out of cupboards for the moment.
Heavy Kitchen Gadgets and Cords — I learned this one the hard way, pulling a can opener onto my own head when I was just a toddler. Singles and those without children often forget how heavy and dangerous home kitchen gadgets can be, and leaving the cord hanging down to the floor is an invitation for a child to start pulling devices off of the countertop. It is best to simply unplug these devices when not in use and storing them in a cupboard away from the floor for the meantime.
The bathroom can be a little more difficult to childproof, but simply cleaning up the bathroom and removing clutter is the best and quickest way to childproof. First and foremost, remember to remove choking hazards from the bathroom and the floor. Little items such as toothpicks, bobby pins, and other personal care items can all be choking hazards and should be removed and placed high in cabinets where a small child cannot reach them. Again, items with hanging cords such as hair dryers or flat irons should be wound up and removed from countertops. To prevent accidental drownings one should remove the plug from bathtubs to make sure that water will drain careful in the event that the child makes it to the bathroom and turns on the water. While there is no way to remove all of the hazards in the bathroom, this little preparation — along with watching a child closely — should ensure that a few of the obvious dangers have been removed.
The best advice for the garage? Keep the kids away from the garage. Apart from taking a weekend to clean up and remove the many hidden dangers that are often in garages, simply locking the door to the garage, adding an extra chain high up on the door will make sure that kids can’t get to the garage by themselves. Adding an extra lock higher up is a simple and cheap fix and will give you added security for years to come.
A relatively safe room, the greatest cause for concern is usually the television. While today’s TVs are not anywhere near as heavy as those years ago, today’s TVs are not nearly as sturdy, often relying on only a flimsy plastic stand to support it. Hanging televisions may have more support on the wall, but remember to make sure that the cords are not hanging down or offering something for children to pull on. Make sure that the floor is clean and be sure to clean underneath the couches… you never know what debris may have collected underneath the couch in recent weeks, and there may be small items like bottle caps or other small items that could create a choking hazard.
In conclusion, it is very difficult to completely child-proof a home, but simply being mindful of what is happening in your home and focusing on the obvious dangers will give you a leg-up on making the home safer. Your best bet is to watch the child very carefully as they explore the house; watching where they go and what they want to get their little hands on will unveil many other dangers that you as an adult did not think of. Watch children closely, but have fun and enjoy your time.