Parents are overcome with joy when their children start crawling and walking for the first time. Becoming mobile for a baby is a pivotal time in the child’s development because he or she suddenly has new ways to explore the world. But before this happens, parents need to babyproof the home in order to keep their little ones from getting injured.
The Kids Health Organization reports that “unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 years old and under, with more than a third of these injuries happening at home.” Because children spend most of their time in the home, it makes some sense that they have the highest chances of being injured there.
That being said, parents should make sure that their homes are safe for children of all ages. Consider the following:
First, know what hazards exist in your home
The most popular instances of child injuries or deaths in the home are attributed to:
- Heat or fires. Whether in the kitchen or by the grill, injuries and deaths from burns, fire, and suffocation are among the most common causes of injury or death in children.
- If a child takes a tumble on the stairs, a slippery floor, or falls off of furniture, it couldresult in injuries ranging from broken bones to concussions.
- Bathrooms, swimming pools, hot tubs, and kitchens are all hazards for potential instances of drowning.
- Toxic substances. Children can get into the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, the medicine in the bathroom cabinet, or any other substances that are kept in a shed or the garage and choke or be poisoned when ingesting them.
Supervision at all times is key. Focusing on your child around the clock will allow you to quickly intervene before something bad happens, though not all accidents and injuries are preventable. For this reason, all parents should learn CPR and how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on children of all ages; keep a first-aid kit in the house; and make sure the home is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
But there are many dangers in the home beyond these four categories. Here are tips to child-proof your home in an attempt to prevent injuries:
Don’t cut corners
When children first start walking, their heads can be at the same height as various sharp corners in your home such as coffee tables or nightstands. Since kids are unstable when they first start walking – think Weebles that wobble and DO fall down – they could easily crash into one of these corners and wind up with goose eggs, cuts, or bruises. Save your child pain and invest in rubber corner bumpers to soften the potential blow.
Step up your safety game
Stairs can be one of the most dangerous hazards in your home, especially if your staircase involves a lot of steps. Falling from the top of the landing could cause serious injury or death. To avoid this when baby becomes mobile – whether he or she is crawling or walking – put up gates in front of every set of stairs in the house. Gates can also be used to block off potentially dangerous areas in the home such as the kitchen or a garage.
Before purchasing gates for your home, do your research to ensure that whichever gates you purchase meet all current safety standards.
Lock it up
Cabinets and drawers can hold toxic cleaning supplies or sharp objects like scissors. To keep baby safe, purchase drawer and cabinet locks so that your child can’t pull them open if you look away for a short time and ingest something dangerous.
Cover all your bases
Door knobs could now be in reach for your little one. He or she just wants to explore, but what lies behind some doors could be extremely dangerous – especially if it’s a closet and a big object comes tumbling out once the door is open. To prevent this, invest in door knob covers.
Windows with blinds that have long cords could be very dangerous for your baby. For example, if your child can reach the cord, he or she could also get tangled in it and potentially be strangled. If this is the case in your home, invest in cordless window coverings to avoid this hazard.
Stay out of hot water
Bathtub knobs and faucets could now be accessible to your baby, who could scald himself or herself by turning the hot water on high. Consider opting for a mixer faucet – which keeps a consistent temperature and prevents large fluctuations from cold to hot and vice versa – in the bathrooms and kitchen.
This time of exploration is an exciting time for baby and parents. Take the time to child-proof your home before baby becomes mobile in an attempt to keep them safe.