It’s hard to see things through the eyes of a toddler or crawling infant when you haven’t been either in 30-plus years. Still, if you’re going to effectively baby-proof your home and neutralize all potential hazards from harming your little one, you need to scan your home through their knee-high perspective.
It’s not without immense sacrifice. Suddenly, the beautiful living room you’ve designed might have to be turned on its head. The entertainment system you painstakingly set up needs to be stored away. Or your beautiful centerpiece painting in your living room needs to come down.
Nobody said safety was fun or easy, but it’s the price you pay for love. And you love your child more than anything, so you’re going to have to take great pains when implementing effective baby-proofing practices in your home. From now on, you must assess everything - whether it’s pets, wires, blinds, staircases, or doors - and consider every safety concern imaginable.
1. INEFFECTIVE BABY GATES: A GATEWAY TO DISASTER
Each day, five children end up in the emergency room due to the incorrect use of baby gates, according to a 2014 study.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s normal for babies to experience bumps and bruises, but some accidents caused by inefficient or malfunctioning gates are as scary as it gets. Sometimes, falls stemming from an ill-functioning baby gate can lead to traumatic brain injuries.
According to Nancy Reynolds, a baby-proofing expert, 95% of parents don’t install baby gates correctly. Ironically, instead of protecting your child like they’re supposed to, the contraptions become a hazard.
Many parents don’t correctly follow manufacturer instructions or own a gate that correctly fits the walkway. Sometimes they ‘customize’ the gate for pets. These scenarios increase the chances of your child getting hurt.
Be sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions to install a gate that’s fit for the job. Keep in mind that pressure gates don’t belong at the top of stairs since your child is capable of removing them and falling down. Also, avoid retractable fabric gates because they’re too flexible.
2. DETERGENT PODS: GOOD FOR CLOTHING AND DISHES, BAD FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
If teenagers find it trendy to do the infamous ‘Tide Pod challenge’, you better believe your infant or toddler could be susceptible to similar hazards.
While you don’t think about these chemical-filled pods as anything more than dishwasher and laundry detergents, children are regularly tempted to play with them or put them in their mouths. The results are catastrophic, as detergents can cause chemical eye burns, heart attacks, and comas.
Although awareness of this issue has never been higher, there was a 20% increase poison control emergencies from pods in 2016. Safety items, such as our magnetic cabinet locks, are a must for any parent of a young child in order to prevent them access to not only detergent pods but also medicines and other potentially harmful products.
3. PETS: DANGER WRAPPED IN CUTENESS
Often times, toddlers are still testing boundaries. As such, they may pull on your pet’s tale or partake in other antagonizing behavior towards your cherished family cat or dog. Sometimes that leads to Rex or Fluffy striking back and hurting your child.
That’s not the only way owning pets can prove hazardous. It’s not uncommon for a piece of dog kibble to get lodged in a child’s airway. Also, water bowls on the floor can be drowning hazards. Furthermore, dogs like to play and run with toddlers. Since they’re competing for similar territory, this can lead to dangerous slips and falls.
Pet food and water should be in a separate area, away from your children. Playtime with household pets needs to be monitored closely. Therefore, children and pets shouldn’t ever be left alone together.
4. OUTLETS EXPOSING YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN TO DANGER
It’s hard to say what it is about toddlers and exposed electrical outlets. Maybe it’s because outlets look like a smiley face.
The National Fire Protection Association reports around 2,400 incidents of children experiencing severe shock and burns caused after poking into the slots of electrical receptacles. What’s worse is that approximately 12 children die from these injuries each year.
Outlet plugs do help but it’s hard to remember to put them back after unplugging an item. When your baby’s safety is on the line, you want to eliminate human error from the equation. Nifty apparatuses, like our self-closing outlet covers, ensure that outlets remain unexposed when you’re done using them. Human error is taken out of the equation.
5. CORDS: DANGEROUSLY TANGLED TODDLERS
When you hop into your own personal time machine and put yourself in the shoes of an infant or toddler, think back to when it seemed okay to eat paper towel. Or, even worse, when you’d freely chew on cables and cords.
This dangerous inclination can cause electric shock. Heavy items such as lamps can also fall on top of your children if they yank on accessible cords.
Lamps on side tables should have cords wrapped around legs. Furniture should be positioned in front of standing lamps. Cord channels conceal wires and keep them fastened to the floor, keeping them out of your children’s hands and mouths.
6. A WINDOW INTO SAFETY HAZARDS
When cribs or dressers are positioned against windows, children can push the screens out. There are also strangulation risks when window covering cords are longer than 8 inches. Many child safety regulators suggest cordless blinds throughout your home—specifically in your children’s bedrooms where you must keep climbable furniture away from any windows. Also, ensure windows remain locked shut unless opened no more than an inch for air circulation. Gated windows are another useful safety practice.
7. SOFT BEDDING. HARSH CONSEQUENCES.
This hazard falls under the category of ‘unsuspecting’ but can be incredibly dangerous nonetheless. Crazily enough, soft bedding can suffocate babies by molding around their faces.
In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that up to 900 infants suffocate yearly due to soft bedding. Use a firm mattress with a close-fitting pad and sheet for your child. Ensure they sleep on their backs and wait until they’re a year old before sleeping with pillows, comforters, thick bumper pads, or soft toys in the crib. Before that time, you can tuck lightweight blankets tightly around the mattress or dress your child in a blanket if you need to keep them warm.
8. BATH SEATS AND RINGS CAN LEAVE YOUR CHILD IN DANGEROUS WATERS
While infants sit up in the tub with the help of bath seats and rings, these helpful tools can be life-threatening drowning hazards if you lose attention for just one fleeting moment. Your child may end up trapped underwater due to suction cups at the bottom of the seats/rings releasing, tipping over, then sliding beneath your infant’s legs.
The simple solution? Never take your eye off your child for even a second in the tub and ensure that all other caregivers follow said rules to a tee.
9. DISHWASHERS: PACKED FULL OF HAZARDS
Considering that dishwashers reach boiling hot temperatures and contain sharp knives and racks with pointy spikes, it’s pretty easy to see how it makes a formidable hazard for your small child.
When loading or unloading your dishwasher, remain focused on the whereabouts of your little one. Ensure they aren’t underfoot. Sharper cutlery needs to point downwards in the utensil basket. When you aren’t using your dishwasher, it should be locked shut.
10. HAND-ME-DOWNS PROTECT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, NOT YOUR CHILD
Hand-me-downs may be cost-efficient, but they aren’t safety-efficient. Broken and missing parts are a common attribute of used toys and baby gear, often meaning these items don’t meet the current safety standards. Unlike new items, there are no instructions or age recommendations in hand-me-downs—further enhancing their risk.
Rigorously inspect any toys, high chairs, car seats, cribs, and other secondhand gear to see that they’re fully functioning with all of their parts intact. Ensure strings, straps, and cords are shorter than 7 inches. Also, keep in mind that older painted toys may contain poisonous lead.
11. RUGS SLIP OUT FROM UNDER YOUR CHILDREN
When your toddler starts moving, they really start moving. Sometimes too quickly for their own good. As a result, rugs are a huge injury risk as they can slip out from beneath your newly-mobile child. If they fall backward, your child could suffer trauma to the back of their head.
Placing non-slip pads underneath a rug is a quick and effective remedy to the problem. Non-slip sock bottoms or ensuring your little one is running around barefoot will both minimize slippage.
12. THE DANGERS OF TELEVISION
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child is killed once every 10 days from furniture or televisions tipping over. On top of that, another child is sent to the emergency room every 30 minutes with an injury caused by tipping over.
Thankfully, potentially life-saving products like our TV straps keep your curious toddler at bay and away from falling televisions. These are a must for any family with young children.
Baby proofing isn’t easy, particularly given the fact that your little ones have a talent for turning everything into a hazard. But with the help of our free babyproofing starter kit, you’ll get a head start on turning your home into a safe haven for your infants and toddlers. Considering the well-being of your young one is priceless, nothing is a very small price to pay for better child safety.