Eight Important but Overlooked Ways to Keep a Baby Safe in Your Home
© 2021 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
Accidents are the leading cause of death among toddlers, so keeping your home baby-proof is an essential part of being a parent, grandparent or anyone who has babies and toddlers who visit their home.
While most people are aware of the major risks, such as keeping toxic chemicals and medicines out of the reach of children, there are many other, less known ways that children can get hurt.
If children are ever in your home, here are the top things you can do to make sure that they stay out of harm's way.
1. Cover Your Electrical Outlets
Most electrical outlets are located in areas of the home that children can easily reach, and close to 4,000 injuries associated with electrical outlets are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every year, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). About one-third of these occur when kids looking to explore insert metal objects like keys and hairpins into the outlets.
Since you can't move your outlets away from your kids, it's imperative to cover your outlets with the outlet covers (most ideal are sliding outlet covers requiring one or two screws, as two are needed in most newer homes).
Sliding outlet covers are typically easy-to-install spring activated, so they automatically cover outlets when any plug is removed. This means kids can't insert objects or fingers into the outlets at any time.
2. Keep Your Windows Secured
Thousands of young children are killed or injured from falling out of windows every year, according to CPSC. Since keeping your windows closed is an unpleasant solution (especially during the summer months), be sure to always supervise children, including, and especially, when they have access to an open window, and consider using a window safeguard to control the height or width of your window openings.
3. Get Rid of Standing Water
Children 4 years old and younger are at the highest risk of drowning. Most drownings involving children happen when a child is left alone in a bathtub or falls into a pool, but any standing water, such as in a bucket or toilet, can pose a risk.
Toilets are especially risky, since many people are unaware that a curious toddler, when going in for a closer look, can fall in to a toilet headfirst and drown.
Toilet lids should always be kept down, but to prevent clever toddlers from opening them up we recommend the inexpensive and simple-to-install Toilet Lock that won the "Show Off" award for ingenious, practical products from the Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association. This clever toilet lock that works with any type of toilet seat is made of strong plastic that, in its locked position, keeps the toilet lid securely closed, preventing little ones from accessing the bowl.
Grown-ups can swing the toilet lock back to an "off" position and open up the lid easily, without fumbling.
4. Use Natural Cleaning Supplies
Most cleaning supplies contain hazardous chemicals that can easily be transferred from your floor onto little bare feet and hands, and right into a toddler's mouth. If you have kids around, and for your health too, you should only use non-toxic cleaners (especially on the floors).
Looking for a natural line of cleansers? They should contain no hazardous ingredients, petrochemicals, perfumes, dyes or animal byproducts.
5. Remove Choking/Strangulation Hazards
Choking is a common cause of accidental death among infants under 1 year old. To protect infants from choking:
Avoid all foods that could get stuck in your child's throat, such as popcorn, grapes, raisins, nuts, hard candies, nuts, cut-up hotdogs, etc.
Never let a child of any age eat or suck on anything while lying down.
Keep floors, tables and cabinet tops free from small objects that could be swallowed (such as rings, small batteries, coins, nails, deflated balloons, etc.).
Make sure that all cords from draperies and blinds are secured safely out of toddlers' reach.
6. Be Careful While Cooking
Cooking is one of the most hazardous activities when it comes to burns, as a child could reach into a hot oven out of curiosity or pull down a pot of boiling water from a stovetop. It's extremely important to always supervise kids in the kitchen, and be sure to turn pot handles toward the inside of the stove (even adults can accidentally bump into a protruding pot handle, causing it to spill on a child).
7. Protect Tiny Fingers From Slamming Windows and Doors
Kids' tiny fingers can be crushed or even amputated if they get caught in a door, particularly the hinge side, or window.
In fact, a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that in children aged 4 and younger, three out of four finger amputations resulted from fingers that were caught, jammed or crushed in an opening or closing door.
Finding and installing foam Finger Guards on your doors, particularly on all doors that children may be opening and closing can be a good preventive solution.
8. Block Off Stairways to Prevent Falls
According to the National Safe Kids Campaign (NSKC), in one year, 121 children aged 14 and under died from unintentional falls, and more than 2.3 million children aged 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries.
Says the NSKC, more than 80 percent of fall-related injuries among children ages 4 and under occur in the home. Furniture, stairs, windows, playgrounds -- even baby walkers -- pose a fall risk to small children.
To keep toddlers safe, be sure to block off stairways, windows or other dangerous areas.
You can also use corner guards to prevent serious head traumas that can occur from falling against sharp corners of furniture.