Guest Post by: Angelo DiGangi of Home Depot
Have you ever heard a new mother joke that she would rather her baby not begin walking, because then she’ll have to chase him around? It’s true that carrying our children ensures that we know exactly where they are at all times, but even when a child begins to explore the world, there are ways to make that world safer.
Whether you are at home with small children of your own or you are looking for the best ways to childproof your childcare center or local business, there are ways you can organize and safeguard kitchen cabinets, drawers and other places where you might not want tiny hands.
Locks of Love
One of the most important ways to childproof your home is to keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers that contain harmful or dangerous items off limits.
First, get organized.
Don’t put things like poisonous cleaning products in the lower kitchen cabinets, if possible. Try storing plastic food containers, plastic dishes, dishtowels and other harmless items for areas within the reach of small hands.
Check out what’s available.
When it comes to latches and locks to keep your kitchen items safe, there are plenty of options. Hardware stores, specialty shops and super stores are all fine places to peruse options for safety latches. There are two main types of latches for cabinets and drawers.
Elsewhere in the Kitchen
If you have harmful products stashed under a sink, those may be the first items you think about inside a kitchen – and with good reason! But there are other ways to keep your toddler safe in the most popular room of the house.
Use the back section of the stovetop.
If you’re boiling water or cooking, use the back burners. Keep the handles turned away from any side where your toddler might be able to reach.
Keep countertops clear.
Make sure appliances, knife sets and other kitchen gadgets are not at the edge of the counters, but pushed back and away from reach.
Elsewhere in the House
Latch your toilet seat.
More toddlers drown inside toilets than you could ever imagine. Keep your toilet seats closed and latched to prevent this.
Use an anti-scalding device for sinks and showers.
Don’t let your child turn on the hot water and burn himself. Install a device on the showerhead and faucet that prevents the water from becoming too hot. Most of these devices function by automatically reducing the water flow when it becomes a certain temperature.
You can also go a step further and install an anti-scalding device on your actual hot water heater. A professional plumber is usually the one to do this.
To avoid shock, cover all unused outlets with a safety cap.
Leave hairdryers and other bathroom appliances unplugged.
Even adults get burned sometimes – so remember to unplug any bathroom appliances and put them away after use.
Other Precautions for Safety
Use doorknob covers and baby gates.
If there are rooms in your house where you’d just rather not have children, try a simple doorknob cover or a baby gate to deter your toddler from entering.
Cover furniture edges with “bumpers.”
Children are prone to running around, falling and bumping their heads. You can prevent accidents involving the furniture by covering the corners with “bumpers” that soften the edges.
Avoid creating a “ladder” for windows.
Kids love to climb. That said, keep all furniture away from high windows, which can pose a falling hazard should your child climb onto the windowsill. Screens do not provide sufficient protection.
Keep cords out of reach.
Cords – whether from appliances or blinds – can strangle a child easily. Make sure your toddler cannot wrap him or herself in loose cords.
Keep bookcases and other structures sturdy.
Secure bookcases and any other furniture that could fall over onto a child by using brackets and anchors. Keep heavier items at the bottom to prevent a top-heavy structure.
Ensuring that your home is childproof is no easy task, but there are plenty of items to assist in your venture. And, other parents and visitors will feel at ease knowing that you’ve taken the time to create a safe environment for little people.
Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate at a suburban Chicago store. His writing interests include providing kitchen design ideas for homeowners on the Home Depot website.