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It's exciting when your baby starts to crawl and becomes mobile, and it's also the time to make sure your home is a safe place for your little one to explore. To begin child-proofing your home, the baby safety experts at Safe Beginnings.com suggest going on a "crawl tour" yourself. Roam your house on your hands and knees to see your surroundings from a child's perspective -- this will help you find small items that may be hidden under the couch and tables, as well as other potential dangers that may be in a child's reach.
Top 7 Tips for Child-Proofing Your Home, from the CDC
- A small gate or fence should be used to block off stairs. Lock doors to potentially dangerous places, such as the garage or basement.
- Cover all unused electrical outlets with plug covers.
- Kitchen appliances, irons, and heaters should be stored out of reach of your toddler. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
- Sharp objects such as scissors and pens should be kept in a safe place.
- Keep medicines, household cleaners, and poisons locked up.
- Don't leave toddlers alone in a car -- not even for a short time.
- Make sure to keep guns in a safe place out of reach.
In addition to putting away all cleaning supplies, Safe Beginnings recommends storing any perfumes, mouthwashes, or other products that contain high levels of alcohol in a safe place that your child cannot access. Safe Beginnings also notes that although child-proofing helps keep babies and toddlers safe, it is not a substitute for adult supervision.
What Moms Can Do about Child-Proofing
As moms go through the house installing safety products and removing potential hazards, it may be a good idea to designate certain rooms off-limits for crawling babies and toddlers.
Famed child-proofing company Boo Boo Busters owner/founder Kimberlee Mitchell recommends on her blog that parents gate off or keep doors locked to the following rooms:
- Home gym: unplug treadmills when not in use, remove the safety cord, and store it in a safe place
- Any loft, terrace, or balcony
- Second story (or higher) rooms with no window locks or guards
- Home office
- Any room that has a bar and/or alcohol
- The kitchen should be gated off
Even if you have taken all the necessary steps to child-proof your home, your friends and neighbors may be more relaxed about safety. Pattie Fitzgerald, safety expert from Safely Ever After, a company that creates innovative safety programs for parents and their kids, provides tips to make sure your children are safe in other people's homes, including:
- Spend time with the parent(s) before letting your child have an unsupervised playdate at someone's home. Ask if there are any guns in the house and if so, where are they -- out of reach of the kids, unloaded? It may sound silly, but this can be a dangerous accident waiting to happen. Are there a lot of other adults who frequent the home -- uncles, neighbors, older siblings' friends? If children are very young, be sure those child-proofing locks are in place, especially on doors, stairways, windows (especially on upper floors) -- do not let other parents' carelessness or neglect put your child at risk. If the parents tell you they don't think these are necessary, do not leave your child there unattended. Get a sense of who the other parents are ... if you think they are too lax in the way they care for their kids, consider having those playdates at your home instead.
Fitzgerald also has suggestions to help moms figure out if a child's daycare and school environments are safe:
- Be sure all laws are being followed in terms of how many children are allowed at the site, as well as the adult-to-child ratio and the spatial room for the amount of kids being cared for.
- Inspect the entire facility, including toys, games, and furnishings -- especially high chairs, climbing apparatus, swing sets, slides, and cots for napping. Are there childproof safety locks where necessary (kitchen, bathroom, cupboards)? Communicate with all personnel involved with your child, not just the owner. Ask your child periodically about their day -- where did they play, with whom, what were the activities, what did they eat, and whether they had a good day or not.
Connect with Other Moms about Child-Proofing
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Related Momlogic Stories on Child-Proofing
- Your Kid May Not Be Safe at School
- My Daughter Was Killed By a Window Cord
- Octomom Hires Professional Baby-Proofers
Additional Resources for Child-Proofing