The safety of little ones is of paramount importance, especially within the confines of their homes. Creating a secure environment for young children involves implementing a range of safety rules in the home to prevent accidents and minimize potential hazards.
Babyproofing is crucial in safeguarding your home for young kids and toddlers. It involves modifying and decluttering your living space to remove or minimize potential dangers.
- Secure cabinets and drawers: Secure cabinets and drawers with childproof locks or latches. Cleaning products, medications and other potentially poisonous substances should be stored securely to prevent accidental ingestion.
- Electrical safety: Cover electrical outlets with safety plugs or outlet covers.
- Furniture stability: Secure heavy furniture, such as bookshelves, dressers and TVs, to the wall to prevent tipping accidents. Ensure that heavy items are placed on lower shelves to avoid instability.
- Stair safety: Install gates at the top and bottom of staircases.
- Door safety: Use door locks or knob covers to restrict access to hazardous rooms.
- Corded window covering safety: Consider replacing corded windows with cordless alternatives, such as cordless blinds or shades, to eliminate the risk of entanglement. If corded coverings are necessary, use cord safety devices to keep cords securely out of reach.
- Balcony and deck safety: Keep furniture away from railings to discourage climbing. Ensure that sturdy railings are in place and regularly maintained and promptly address any issues.
“Once our toddler became mobile, the first thing we did was anchor all heavy furniture and appliances, like bookshelves and TV, to the wall to prevent them from tipping over. It proved to be one of the most important safety measures as before we knew it, she started to climb up the furniture to reach the higher shelves.”— Tamara, Thriving In Parenting
Young children are naturally inclined to put objects in their mouths, making choking hazards a significant concern.
Cut food into small, manageable pieces, especially round or cylindrical items like grapes, hot dogs or the sausages included in this sausage sheet pan dinner recipe. Avoid serving hard candies or other small, hard foods that can pose a choking risk.
“When our children were toddlers, I was especially concerned with choking hazards, as we live in a very remote location without any emergency services access. I always slice grapes and sausages lengthwise before serving them to kids ages three and under. Unsliced grapes and sausages are common choking hazards in little kids because they’re just the right size to plug a small child’s throat.”— Sarita Harbour, Thrive at Home
When registering for baby gifts or selecting toys on your own, opt for age-appropriate ones and avoid those with small parts that can be swallowed. Regularly inspect toys for any damage or loose parts.
Keep small items, such as coins, buttons or jewelry, out of reach, and be vigilant about picking up small objects from the floor to prevent accidental ingestion.
Open water sources, such as swimming pools, bathtubs, buckets or even toilet bowls, can be hazardous for young children. Implementing appropriate water safety measures is crucial.
- Pool safety: Install a four-sided fence around swimming pools with a self-latching gate. Consider pool alarms for an extra layer of security. Never leave children unattended near a pool, even for a moment.
- Bathtub safety: Never leave young children alone in the bathtub, even with just an inch of water. Always supervise them closely and remove all bath accessories, such as buckets or toys, after use.
- Water container safety: Empty buckets, basins or other water containers immediately after use to prevent accidental drowning.
- Toilet safety: Lock toilet bowls with a child lock to prevent young children from accessing them and potentially falling in.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.
Smoke detectors can provide early warnings in the event of a fire, allowing families to take prompt action.
Similarly, install carbon monoxide detectors near fuel-burning appliances or sources, as carbon monoxide is a silent — and odorless — but deadly gas.
Keep fire extinguishers readily accessible in key areas of the home, such as the kitchen and near potential fire hazards. Choose extinguishers suitable for common household fires and ensure everyone in the family knows how to use them correctly.
If your home has multiple stories, consider investing in fire escape ladders that can be attached to windows or balconies. These ladders provide a safe means of escape during emergencies.
Educate children about the “stop, drop and roll” technique, which can help extinguish flames on clothing if they catch fire. It’s also important to practice fire drills regularly so children know how to react in a fire emergency.
Take precautions to prevent falls from windows. It’s also important to keep furniture away from windows to discourage climbing.
Consider installing one of the below options to restrict the opening size and keep children from accidentally falling out:
- Window guards: Protective barriers that restrict window openings to prevent falls.
- Window stops: Devices that limit the opening of windows, maintaining ventilation while reducing fall risks.
- Window safety netting: Mesh material that creates a barrier to prevent window access and minimize fall hazards.
- Window film: Transparent adhesive film that reinforces glass, minimizing the risk of breakage and injuries from shattered glass.
Home firearm safety
If firearms are present in the home, it is crucial to prioritize firearm safety to prevent accidents. Store firearms unloaded and locked in a secure location, separate from ammunition and utilize gun locks or safes to prevent access by children.
Store medications securely and out of the reach of children. Use childproof caps whenever possible to provide an extra layer of protection. Additionally, avoid taking medication in front of young children, as they tend to imitate adult behaviors and may be tempted to consume medication themselves.
Safe cooking practices
The kitchen can be a potentially hazardous area for young children. To ensure their safety while cooking family recipes like this creamy Tuscan chicken or this creamy Dijon chicken, keep hot items such as pots and pans out of their reach.
Utilize stove guards to prevent accidental contact with burners. Always turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge to minimize the risk of spills and burns.
Button batteries can pose a significant risk to young children if accidentally ingested. It’s crucial to take preventive measures to avoid such incidents.
- Prevention: Keep button batteries out of reach by storing them securely. Be cautious when changing batteries in toys, watches, security systems or other devices, ensuring small children are not present. Consider altogether removing all non-essential items with button batteries from the home.
- Security: Ensure that battery compartments in electronic devices are properly secured.
- Disposal: Discard used batteries immediately and safely.
Instilling safety rules in the home for young children involves implementing various measures. Though this process requires significant effort, the resulting environment and protection from potential hazards make it worthwhile.
Sara Nelson is the food blogger behind Real Balanced, a site that shares easy and balanced recipes. Since 2017, she has shared delicious, nutritious and allergy-friendly recipes with thousands of blog readers and social media followers. Sara lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two children and their dog.