One of our most important jobs as parents is to ensure the safety of our children and families. In fact we hear over and over from parents that health and safety is the number one priority for their children. Childproofing the family home is high on the list of important preventative safety measures you can take, but it isn’t always easy to know where to start.
Anticipation is the key to successfully childproofing each room and it’s something we get better at with experience. A good place to start is to get down low – literally – so you can see the world from your child’s perspective. Yes, you might even want to crawl around on the floor! What do you see? Ask yourself, “What looks interesting to me right now? The lamp cord? That cabinet knob? The plug?” Your child will be attracted to these potentially dangerous unknowns, so it’s very important to keep them out of sight or secured from access.
Remember that we are the ones charged with the responsibility to create secure environments. Children learn naturally through exploration, so we want to be sure they have a safe place where they can try out their emerging desire for independence.
Here are a few ways to start childproofing your home:
Out of sight, out of mind. You may need to shift some things around in your home. Keep cords and outlets out of reach by hiding them behind furniture. Remove lamps from side tables and place them out of your child’s reach. The objective is to remove dangers associated with your child pulling on cords and breaking objects.
Don’t cut corners. Low cabinets and coffee tables are right at your child’s eye level. Placing corner and edge bumpers on all sharp corners around your home will make them less likely to cause bumps and bruises if your child runs into them. Also, placing safety latches or locks on low cabinets will restrict access to objects that could be dangerous in a young child’s hands.
Gate off dangers. When children begin to crawl and walk, they cruise around and explore just about anywhere. To make sure your child stays away from potentially dangerous areas in your home, install safety gates that bolt/screw into walls so they aren’t easily knocked over or moved. If you have stairs in your home, install a safety gate on the first step. Steps are often very appealing to new crawlers and climbers, but pose serious risks for falls.
Decorate wisely. With fall holidays coming up, be sure you choose your decorations carefully. Your child will be excited to see and grab all the new things in your home. Keep objects like plastic pumpkins, acorns, hay, dried corn and small candies out of reach. Your child might put one of these in his mouth, which presents a choking hazard.
Remember that not every childproofing solution works in every situation. Children are smart and will often find ways to “de-proof” your home when you least expect it. It’s important to always be present, prepared and ready to jump into action!
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