Childproofing Your Home: The Ultimate Guide
If you're a homeowner with young children, you know that childproofing your home is a necessary task. It's not always easy to know where to start, though. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to childproof your home safely and effectively. From electrical outlets to stairs, we'll cover it all! So read on for some valuable safety tips.
Common Hazards in the Home
We all want to think that our Daytona Beach homes are safe and secure places for our families and children, however, the truth is, there are many potential hazards that can harm or fatally injure children. Some of the most common risks found at home include:
Choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental deaths in the county with more than 5,000 people dying each year. Choking can happen when a child inhales small objects like coins, buttons, or beads. It can also occur when food gets lodged in the throat. Be especially conscious of choking when living near a golf course as golf tees and other small objects can be dangerous.
How to protect your children:
As a parent, it's natural to want to protect your children from all harm. And while you can't always be there to prevent them from getting hurt, there are some steps you can take to help prevent choking. Here are a few tips:
- Cut food into small pieces. This will help to reduce the risk of choking, as smaller pieces are less likely to get stuck in the throat.
- Supervise your child while they are eating. This way, you can be sure that they are not trying to eat too quickly or swallowing large pieces of food.
- Avoid giving hard candy or gum to young children. These can be choking hazards if they are not eaten carefully.
- Be aware of any toys that your child is playing with. Some toys may have small parts that could pose a choking hazard.
With a chance of accidental choking being a possibility, it is also an excellent idea to be properly trained in life-saving measures such as the Heimlich Maneuver. Knowing exactly what to do in the event your child is choking can mean the difference between life and death.
Falls are another common risk for children, and though less likely to be serious or fatal, can still result in injury. Children can fall from a variety of heights, such as off of furniture, out of windows, or down the stairs.
How to prevent your children from falling:
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help prevent falls. Here are a few tips:
- Keep furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing up and falling out.
- Use gates at the top and bottom of the stairs to keep children from falling down the stairs.
- Keep walkways and play areas clear of obstacles to prevent trips and falls.
- Make sure railings are properly installed and in good condition to prevent falls from balconies or decks.
- Inspect playground equipment regularly to ensure that there are no loose parts that could cause a child to fall.
You may be tempted to think that since you don't have a pool your child is not at risk of drowning, unfortunately, that is not the case. Children can drown in just a few inches of water, and it can happen quickly and silently. Some common places where drowning can occur include baths, toilets, buckets, and even puddles. If you do have a pool, or live near an ocean, beach, or any other body of water, remember to take extra care to make sure those areas are safe.
How to prevent your children from drowning:
There are many things parents can do in order to prevent accidental drowning, such as:
- Keep bathroom doors closed and use child safety locks on toilets as well as never leaving a child unattended in the bath.
- Empty all containers of water when you are finished using them. This includes buckets, bathtubs, and kiddie pools.
- Never leave your child unattended near any body of water including pools, lakes, rivers, and even the ocean.
- If you have a pool, make sure it is properly fenced in and has a locked gate to keep children from gaining access to the water without supervision.
This is another instance where proper training can make all the difference. Being trained on how to perform CPR can buy valuable time in the chance that your child does end up in the water and needs assistance.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be produced by fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, and stoves.
How to prevent your children from being poisoned by carbon monoxide:
There are several things you can do in order to help prevent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in your home, such as:
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and make sure to test it monthly.
- Do not use gas-powered appliances indoors that are intended for outdoor use only.
- When using a fireplace, make sure the damper is open and there is proper ventilation.
- Never leave a car running in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Have all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually by a qualified technician.
You can also help to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by knowing the symptoms, which include headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. If you suspect that someone has been poisoned by carbon monoxide, it is important to get them out of the area and into fresh air immediately and to call for medical assistance.
Accidental poisoning with other substances is another leading cause of injury and death in children. Children often put things in their mouths without thinking, and this can lead to them accidentally ingesting poisonous substances. Some common items that can be poisonous if ingested include cleaning products, medications, plants, and even certain food items.
Prevention tips to keep your child from being poisoned:
- Keep all poisonous substances out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Teach your child not to put anything in their mouth that they are not supposed to eat or drink.
- Read the labels on all cleaning products and medications and follow the instructions carefully.
- Do your research on which plants are poisonous and keep them out of reach or out of your home altogether.
- Be sure to properly dispose of unused or expired medications.
If you suspect that your child has ingested something poisonous, it is important to call the Poison Control Center immediately.
Another hazard that can be present in the home is the risk of electrocution. This can happen when a child comes into contact with an electrical current, and it can often be fatal. Some common places where electrocutions can occur include outlets, electrical cords, and appliances.
How to prevent your children from being electrocuted:
- Keep all electrical cords and appliances out of reach of children.
- Do not overload outlets with multiple plugs.
- Use tamper-resistant outlets in all areas where children have access.
- Regularly check electrical cords and appliances for damage.
When age-appropriate, teach your children about the dangers of electricity and how to stay safe around it.
Strangulation and Suffocation
Unfortunately, children can also be at risk for strangulation and suffocation in the home. Strangulation occurs when something cuts off or compresses the neck, and suffocation happens when the airways are blocked and breathing is prevented. Some common items that can cause these types of injuries include window blind cords, plastic bags, and more. Suffocation, which is more common in babies, can be a result of pillows or blankets being placed over the face.
How to prevent your children from being strangled or suffocated:
- Keep all window blind cords out of reach of children.
- Do not use plastic bags as a toy or for storage.
- Avoid placing pillows or blankets in an infant’s crib.
- Remove strings from clothing or elastic headbands when putting children to bed.
- Lock any extra freezers or refrigerators not in use to avoid children being trapped inside.
Knowing CPR in the event your child does suffer from strangulation or suffocation can make all the difference, so it is important to be prepared.
Injuries from guns and knives
It is devastating to think about, but children can also be injured or killed by guns and knives. These injuries usually happen when children are playing with these items and don’t realize the danger they are in.
How to prevent your children from being injured by guns or knives:
- Keep all guns and knives out of reach of children.
- Store guns and knives in a locked cabinet or safe.
- Keep ammunition stored separately from guns.
- Dispose of knives properly when they are no longer in use.
- Teach your children about the dangers of guns and knives and how to stay safe around them.
Burns are another type of injury that can occur in the home, and they can be very serious. Burns usually happen when children come into contact with fire, hot liquids, or electrical currents.
How to prevent your children from being burned:
- Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Use child-resistant outlet covers in all areas where children have access.
- Test the water temperature before allowing children to bathe.
- Keep hot liquids and food out of reach of children.
- Keep candles and other open flames away from children and pets.
If your child does suffer a burn, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Additional Tips to Child-Proof your Home
Sometimes, things that we might not even think about can pose a danger to children. Here are some additional tips to help child-proof your home:
Use gates around stairs
Baby gates are an excellent way to prevent children from falling down stairs, especially as they are crawling or learning to walk. It is important that your baby gate is properly attached and in good working order and pressure-held gates are not used at the top of stairs as children could lean on them, potentially dislodging the gate.
Keep windows guarded
It is also important to keep children safe from potential injuries by installing window guards. Window guards can help prevent children from falling out of windows and can also keep them from climbing out of windows. Window guards should be installed on all windows that are accessible to children, and they should be in good condition and properly attached.
Skip the tablecloths
You may not think a simple tablecloth could pose any potential risk to your child, but unfortunately, they do, especially if there are hot liquids or sharp knives placed on top. Children, especially ones who are learning to walk and stand may attempt to use the table cloth to pull themselves up which can result in pulling everything on the table down.
Create a small object tester
Having a small object tester is an excellent way to teach and involve older children in the child-proofing process while also helping to ensure that small objects are not left within reach of younger children. A small object tester is simply a container with a few small holes punched in the lid. Once you have child-proofed an area, place the lid on the container and let your older child “test” it to see if anything has been missed. If an object can fit through the holes in the lid, it is not safe for younger children and needs to be removed.
Know how to keep A baby's crib safe
One of the most important things you can do to child-proof your home is to keep cribs safe. Most crib-related fatalities occur when infants become trapped between the crib mattress and the side of the crib. In order to prevent this from happening, follow these guidelines:
- Do not place blankets, toys, pillows, or other objects in the crib with your child.
- Make sure the mattress is firm and fits snugly in the crib.
- Do not use any cribs that have missing or broken parts.
- Do not use drop-side cribs as they can be unsafe.
- Inspect the crib regularly to make sure it is in good condition.
Be familiar with the settings on your hot water heater
It is important to be aware of the temperature settings on your hot water heater as children can accidentally burn themselves by washing hands, showering, etc. Make sure you know what the safe temperature range is for your hot water heater and adjust the settings as necessary.
There are many potential hazards for children in the home, but with proper child-proofing, these hazards can be avoided. Following the tips we have provided will help you to child-proof your home and create a safe environment for your little ones. Remember, it is important to stay vigilant and check regularly for any new dangers that may have been overlooked.