Childproofing Your Home and Lawn

 


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Learning to identify potential hazards inside and outside of your home can help you take precautions for safeguarding your home for your children. Try this fun exercise: Crawl around your home on your hands and knees. This will give you a perspective of what your little one is looking at and what they could potentially get into.

Even the most watchful parents can’t keep children completely out of harm’s way but there are some simple steps to take that can help prevent injuries. The following checklist provides an outline of items to consider when childproofing your home and lawn.

Keep the following items out of children’s reach:

  • Cleaning supplies and other chemicals
  • Curtains and blind cords
  • Houseplants
  • Cigarettes, matches and lighters
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Alcohol
  • Knives
  • Plastic bags
  • Prized possessions
  • Small items, such as coins and buttons

Household Safety:

  • Safeguard heating and gas systems against accidents
  • Ensure that furnaces, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, space heaters and gas appliances are properly vented
  • Place screens around fireplaces, radiators and space heaters to create a barrier
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms outside each bedroom and on every level of your home
  • Safety-proof windows and fire exits
  • Make a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice per year
  • Test your home for lead paint if it was built before 1978
  • Learn first aid and CPR
  • Make a listing of each type of houseplant in the event your child eats one
  • Cover unused outlets with plastic outlet plugs to protect from accidental shock
  • Put doorknob covers and locks to prevent children from entering rooms and dangerous areas
  • Use safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, bathrooms and other areas
  • Replace doorstops with a one-piece design to eliminate a choking hazard
  • Make sure any string or ribbon around the house is no longer than 6 inches
  • Making a first aid kit and emergency instructions
  • Compile a list of important phone numbers, such as poison control (800-222-1222), your child’s pediatrician and the phone number of a nearby relative or neighbor and place the list by your phone
  • Use a cordless phone or cell phone to make it easier to watch children (without leaving the vicinity), especially when they’re in the bathtub, in a swimming pool or at the beach
  • Tape down loose rugs and electrical cords that might trip children

Children’s Rooms:

  • Place your child on their backs to sleep (until he or she is 12 months old)
  • Place nightlights away from the crib, bedding and draperies to prevent a fire
  • Use a safety belt when changing your child on a changing table
  • Check the area for potential choking hazards
  • Keep a fire escape ladder in each room upstairs

Bathrooms:

  • Put locks on medicine cabinets
  • Move vitamins and medicines out of reach
  • Install locks on toilet lids to prevent drowning
  • Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees
  • Consider using anti-scald devices for faucets and showerheads
  • Test the bath water temperature prior to bathing a child
  • Place non-slip mats in tubs and showers
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters on outlets
  • Never leave your child unattended in a bathroom

Kitchen:

  • Use protective covers on stove knobs to prevent children from turning them on
  • Teach your child how to respond to a fire
  • Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove so children cannot pull pots down on themselves
  • Cook on back burners whenever possible
  • Put younger children in a playpen, or a secure area, when cooking to avoid being splashed by grease or spilled foods
  • Never carry hot food or liquids near your child or while you’re carrying your child
  • Keep sharp knives in a locked drawer or out of reach
  • Unplug electrical appliances when they’re not in use
  • Replace frayed cords and wires
  • Keep chairs away from counters and appliances
  • Contact Poison Control for recommendations (such as keeping syrup of ipecac on hand to induce vomiting)
  • Cut food into small pieces to avoid choking

Furniture:

  • Situate furniture away from windows, especially on second floors
  • Place corner bumpers on furniture and fireplaces with sharp edges
  • Secure any furniture that could fall on your child if pulled on, such as bookcases
  • Place the crib away from blind cords, draperies and windows
  • Make sure the crib meets the national safety standards
  • Make sure the mattress and crib sheet fit snug
  • Make sure the crib bumper, if you use one, is tied securely
  • Use railings for children when transitioning to toddler beds

Stairs:

  • Ensure stairs and hallways are well-lit
  • Install carpeting on stairs to protect from slipping
  • Install safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs to prevent children from climbing and falling

Lawn:

  • Store tools and lawn care equipment in a locked closet or shed
  • Use a power mower only when young children are not around
  • A lawn that has been treated with fertilizers or pesticides should not be played on for 48 hours
  • Fence in the swimming pool and other dangerous areas
  • Enclose open deck railings with mesh or other material
  • When using your outdoor barbecue, don’t leave children unattended around it
  • Store propane grills in an area where children cannot turn the knobs

Hilary Basile is a writer for http://www.myguidesusa.com The MyGuidesUSA.com network of sites is the ultimate guide to the USA. Individual portals offer valuable tips and resources for dealing with life’s major events. Find parenting tips and resources at http://www.myguidesusa.com/becomingaparent

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