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How to childproof your home

Every year large numbers of children are injured, sometimes seriously in their homes, but there are measures that can be taken to prevent these injuries

Here are some childproofing steps to keep your children safe at home.

Childproofing in the kitchen

  • Install safety latches on all cabinets and drawers to keep children from potentially poisonous household products.
  • Use the cooker's back burners and turn saucepan handles toward the back of the cooker to keep hot pots and frying pans out of reach of children.
  • Keep kitchenware and appliances out of reach and away from the edge of counters and tables.
  • Put visual reminders on potential poisonous or hazardous items.

Childproofing in the bathroom

  • Install safety latches on cabinets and drawers to keep children from potentially poisonous household products.
  • Install toilet locks to keep toilet lids closed. Children are more top-heavy than adults and can lean and fall into a toilet easily. They also can drown in just one inch of water.
  • Install anti-scalding devices on taps and showerheads to prevent burns. Also set the water heater thermostat to under 49C (120F). It takes just three seconds for a child to sustain a third-degree burn from water at 60C (140F).

Childproofing around the house

  • Unplug hair dryers, hair straighteners and irons after use. Also keep them away from curious children to prevent burns.
  • Electrical socket covers are not recommended by government safety experts, but parents are reminded to put appliances away after use to stop children switching them on or plugging them in.
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and in the doorways of rooms with hazards. Gates with expanding pressure bars should be placed away from baby.
  • Use doorknob covers to keep children away from rooms and other areas with hazards, such as swimming pools. Be careful, though, that these devices are easy for adults to use in case of emergency.
  • Put corner and edge bumpers on furniture and other items like a fireplace hearth to protect against injury.
  • Place furniture away from high windows so children won't climb onto window sills.
  • Make sure window blinds do not have looped cords -- they can be strangulation hazards for children. Always lock blinds into position whether they are all the way up or down.
  • Remove free-falling lids from toy chests, which should have a lid that stays open or a very light, removable one.
  • Prevent furniture from tipping by securing bookcases, shelving, and heavy furniture to walls with brackets and anchors. When storing items, put heavier items on bottom shelves and in bottom drawers.

Remember that childproofing your home can never be 100% effective against injury. That's why it's important to supervise your children at all times.


 

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on May 30, 2014

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