As a parent, you always want to keep kids safe at all times. It’s hard to rest easy when, at the back of your mind, you know you have yet to do everything that you can possibly do for your child.
There is a great variation on how moms and dads protect their children. Kids, at a certain age, require different levels of protection, especially at home. You always want to be looking out for potential risks or possible causes of injury, like sharp edges or slippery floors.
Childproofing your house doesn’t have to be carried out by bulk. You can start with baby steps and gradually move your way across each section. Here’s a quick guide to where to start and what you need to do especially in the shared spaces of your home.
In the Playroom: Cut Window-Blind Cords, and Install Window Guards
Watch out for blinds. They may look safely beyond the reach of your kids, but you’ll soon find out that it’s the objects high above them that they always want to reach for.
Blinds are perfect examples. You’ll quickly realize that, as soon as toddlers learn how to crawl, they also just as easily learn how to climb. If you have blinds everywhere, especially those that fall just behind the sofas or tables, you need to make them safe ASAP.
There have been many reported incidents involving playful toddlers accidentally getting their wrists or arms tangled in looped blind cords. Those that end with a loop are more dangerous as they can turn into a noose and may end up on your kid’s head or, worse, on the neck.
A temporary fix would be to tuck the cords away. It’s temporary because every adult in the house will have to make an effort to keep checking them every single time to see if they’re still out of reach.
Going cordless is the permanent way to go, but changing the already-installed blinds may cost too much. The good thing is that most shades are designed to function without the looped cords. It’s the loop that causes more problems and potential danger.
Before cutting cords in two, test it out first and see if the blinds still function even without the loop. Cut the cord just above the tassel. When you’ve done that, you need to insert the two newly separated cords in two separate tassels and lock them in. This way, when your kids reach up and pull, their little fingers won’t get accidentally tangled between the cords.
When you’ve sorted out the cords, next come the window guards. You don’t want to take any risks, especially when you live in an elevated area. Installing window guards gives you that added reassurance that nothing will happen to your kid when they’re by the window. Don’t forget those guards are an excellent safety measure for kids, but they can never replace adult supervision.
In the Kitchen and Bathroom: Put Safety Latches and Locks
Understanding the way toddlers behave takes time and effort. Why they act the way they do is mostly driven by their growing curiosity. The moment they start standing on their own feet, it will open up a whole new world of discovery for your kid. Unfortunately, that may spell equally alarming dangers for you as the parent.
This is why kids are naturally drawn to closed compartments. Drawers are things that children are very curious about. It’s the worst Pandora’s box for any parent.
A cabinet that’s full of necessary household items can be hazardous to a child. In the bathroom, you’ll have your medicines and toxic cleaning items. In the kitchen, you’ll have even more horrifying stuff in cabinets, like knives, scissors, and other sharp utensils.
Before your kid starts walking, secure your drawers, and install safety locks and latches everywhere. When you install them, test them out first to make sure they really don’t open up even if a certain amount of toddler force were applied to them.
Restrict your child’s access to bathrooms and kitchens. These rooms are not at all kid-friendly and should be kept locked unless an adult is watching over your kids.
The downside of locks is that your kid may end up on the wrong side of the room and get themselves locked in. No parent should ever come home to their child standing next to a toilet or a bathtub or a stove. It helps to have a reliable tool for unlocking doors in case that kind of emergency comes up.
Also, get a toilet guard for your toddler to keep away from the germs and whatnot. You need to be smart when it comes to these things because these incidents will happen more often than not while your toddler is growing up. But at least you won’t have to end up breaking the door open every time.
As for the doors, you want to be vigilant in keeping your precious one’s little fingers from being squished by them. Insert door stops or pinch guards on every hinge in every room possible.
In the Living Room: Electronics and Gadgets at a Safe Distance
The living room has all kinds of kid hazards too. Most of them are electronically powered while some are just disconcerting because of their size. The TV, sofa, coffee tables, and other furniture are all in the shared living room.
And you can’t keep your kids locked in the safe zones of your house all year round. There are times when you’ll have friends and families over, and your kids will have to share the space with them and around potentially injury-causing elements. You won’t have a choice but to expose them to the danger zone at some point.
But fear no more. There are several things you can do to curb the risks.
- Stay on point with keeping the family gathering area as safe as possible. It’s easier if you put yourself in your baby’s shoes—literally crawling around the living room to help you notice danger spots from your baby’s line of vision. Focus on the things that they can easily topple or grab in the living space.
- Low-lying wires are very tempting for toddlers to tug at. Gather up wires, and bind them together using a safety cord. Keep them concealed or beyond the reach of your toddler’s ever-curious hands. You can also put all the wires in a cable organizer.
- Cover your electrical outlets with tapes or plunks to prevent kids from jamming toys or other pointed items in them. For maximum security, best to get the full outlet covers and have them painted over using the same color as that of your wall. These covers are big enough for your toddlers not to remove and choke on accidentally.
- Pick up corner bumpers for your tables and shelves, anything that your kid can get access to. Toddlers have the tendency to trip over, and it’s not fun at all when they bump their heads or limbs into edges. TV and audio sets that are placed on a shelf should have appliance latches so they stay rooted in the same spot.
- Try not to display anything valuable and breakable on shelves that are within your toddler’s reach. Remember that your child is growing. If you don’t pay attention, in weeks, the unreachable stuff will become reachable.
- When you’re in a room full of guests, you can’t always keep both eyes on your toddler. Install pressure or baby gates to block them from stairs or from heading out the door. Get the sturdy kind, and place this in between rooms with large openings.
In and out of Every Room: Always Clean Up Well
Cleaning up may seem like common sense for many. When you’re a first-time parent, though, you’ll be surprised by how you tend to forget the simple and mundane things.
Cleaning up well is the most underrated of all parental advice, but it’s also the most crucial one. Toddlers tend to put everything that they hold on to into their mouth, so the little stuff is more dangerous than the bigger ones.
Coins or paper clips that are on the floor can be easily picked up and harmful in every way. Buttons, ribbons, or beads from toys are also some of the most overlooked objects. Not to mention, dog food and even indoor plants. Take those away, or get them on higher ground.
There are so many ways you can childproof every section of your home. For those who just gave birth, safety at home may not be your top priority since you’ll be with your baby most of the time.
But soon enough, eight or nine months will pass by, and before you know it, he or she is starting to crawl and doing all these cute but unpredictable baby motions that you’ll never be able to anticipate. The older your kids get, the farther they want to go and the more space they take up in the house.
When you childproof your home, you won’t have to worry as much as you usually would when you have to leave kids alone. You’ll have peace of mind from the knowledge that they won’t bump their heads or get cuts, bruises, or even burns while they’re playing around in the house.
Remember that the toddler phase comes and goes. It won’t be the worst thing if you don’t sweat every detail. It’s a challenge that most parents can attest to—watching your child grow and becoming independent in every step they take.
As scary as it may seem, toddlerhood can also be one of the greatest memories you’ll have with your child as they learn and discover the world with you. You won’t see it now, but you’ll miss this phase when it’s gone. Be patient and enjoy toddlerhood while it’s still here.