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Childproofing Your Home

As a parent or guardian, you will do whatever it takes to protect your children. You buy the safest car seat, you interview daycares and babysitters, and you can recite most American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines by heart. But, don’t forget that child safety begins at home. Each year, about 2,000 children under the age of 14 die because of a home injury.[1] Most of these injuries can be prevented, and safer homes equal safer kids. Is your home as safe as you think?

To test your home safety, get on your hands and knees and crawl around your home like a baby would. You may find hazards you didn’t know existed until you are on their level. Make a childproofing checklist of anything you see that could be dangerous. The room-by-room childproofing tips listed below will help you get started.  

Living Room
Make sure the TV is mounted and the remote’s battery cover is secure. The fireplace should be covered with a heat-resistant gate, and any sharp corners on the hearth or furniture, such as the coffee table, should be covered with a bumper or rubber tips. Use only flameless candles, and store any matches or lighters in a safe place. Secure any electrical cords together with a zip tie and keep them out of reach.

Kitchen
The kitchen is full of risks, so it’s a good idea to have a safety gate installed for when you’re not around. Lower cabinets, especially those containing poisonous cleaning products, should be locked. Consider putting any breakables in top cabinets only. Use a stove guard or remove the stove knobs when you’re not cooking. While cooking, use the back burners, and never leave a pan handle facing forward. Make sure small appliances and their cords are not within your child’s reach. Plastic bags, whether they are sandwich bags or grocery bags, are a suffocation hazard and should be put away.

Bathrooms
Razors should be kept way out of reach of little hands – including razor refills you dispose of in the trash. The medicine cabinet should be locked, while toiletries and appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons should be out of reach. Small children can drown in shallow amounts of water, so have a safety latch on the toilet and never leave water in the bathtub. The tub can be quite slippery, so using a slip-resistant mat and a faucet cover can be helpful in case of a fall. To prevent burns, set your water heater to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit[2]. If you don’t have the ability to change the water temperature, you can install an anti-scald device on your faucet.

Bedrooms
Never place a crib or low-to-the-ground furniture near windows. Any windows that can open more than three inches should have a guard installed, and blinds should be cordless to prevent strangulation. The Window Covering Safety Council actually provides free retrofit kits at www.fulfillmentinnovations.com to make corded blinds safer for infants and children. Doors that are easy to slam are a hazard to little fingers, and putting a towel over the tops of doors that can slam shut may prevent a visit to the emergency room.

Throughout the entire house, as well as outdoor play areas, anything that could be a choking hazard should be removed. If it’s smaller than the diameter of a toilet paper roll, it could be considered a choking hazard. Outlets should be protected with safety covers, and furniture should be anchored to the wall.

Childproofing the Home for Toddlers and infants can be tedious, but it’s essential to their health and safety; and having proper homeowner’s insurance is essential to protecting what is likely your most valuable asset – your home. Call your local Alfa® agent today for a free quote.

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[1] https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=accident-statistics-90-P02853

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/child-safety/art-20044027