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Smart Childproofing Tips for National Home Safety Month

A baby.

Here's a tip about keeping your child safe: It's usually the simple, everyday household items that are most dangerous!

Given that June is National Home Safety Month, now is a great time to explore some serious household dangers.

The formula for effective childproofing

One of the first things to understand about childproofing is that timing is important. When you bring a new baby home, exhaustion and preoccupation are going to be the themes of the day. This means it's helpful to get an early start on preparing your home.

It's also important to be aware that many items in your home that seem harmless can be dangerous under certain circumstances. Injuries have occurred from falling furniture, slick floors and even the simple act of eating too much cinnamon.

To childproof a home, it's important to have a comprehensive approach. Often going room by room is a good way to help ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Here's what you may want to focus on in each area of the house:

  • Bathrooms. This is a high-risk area primarily due to the presence of water. To keep your bathroom safe, turn down your water heater a bit (babies burn faster than adults), install a protective device on the toilet, keep all razors and medications locked or out of reach and use mats to prevent slips and falls.
  • Kitchens. Fires are one of the chief concerns here. Purchasing a small fire extinguisher, buying locks for your cabinets and keeping all cleaning supplies and toxic agents out of reach are important tasks.
  • Bedrooms. Correct crib and bed setup and use are important considerations. Ensure everything is solidly put together and that there is no furniture with "tip over" potential. Also, the child's mattress should fit tightly within the frame of the bed.
  • Living rooms and other common areas. Good childproofing extends beyond the areas where children spend the majority of their time. Conduct a slow and thorough walkthrough of the living room, dining room, basement, garage etc.

Other considerations

Sharp edges can result in ugly and painful gashes, so the use of rubber corner and edge bumpers is a good idea. Door knob covers are also highly useful for preventing children from opening doors and escaping into areas where they don't belong. All of these items are typically available for minimal cost.

Other areas of concern include large TVs (one of the most frequently tipped over items in a house), window and TV cords and hair dryers and other items that create a risk of electrocution.

Finally, sound childproofing requires environmental considerations. Lead is neurotoxic so if you live in an older home, a lead level inspection (and blood testing every six months) may be in order. Peeling paint is one of the highest lead exposure risks because older layers of lead paint are often hidden beneath.

The takeaway

Childproofing your home and remaining vigilant about potential risks are two important things you can do for the health and wellbeing of your family. Consider the tips outlined above to help keep your home safe!

Family in the kitchen.

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