The following post hits very close to home as we have two toddlers that are not walking… they are running and climbing and pulling and reorganizing. I’ve always had the “pool of blood theory” which I inherited from my mom (everything will end in a pool of blood), so safety has always been so important to us. As we are starting to feel comfortable letting the twins run through the downstairs on their own, these tips are so important.
From the very first moment you meet and hold your baby, keeping them safe and secure impels your every thought and action. You have picked the perfect nursery colors, the safest car seat, the safest stroller, the softest onesies, and the most comfortable organic absorbing diapers. You have researched for hours the best formula, or have chosen breast feeding. After all, the smallest person you know has now become the biggest part of your world.
You observe their development, celebrating the first smile, the first time they sleep through the night, the first time they sit up on their own. That big milestone of first steps is just around the corner. Your camera is ready and you are ready to hit the “Post” button. STOP! Exactly how much time have you spent researching and assessing the safety of the environment for which they are about to have free reign? Safe and secure, at the top of the list – not quite.
Did you know that falling TV’s and tipping furniture is the number one cause of serious injuries, and sometimes devastating consequences for small children? Window falls is at the top of the list as well. The cleaning supplies and utensils in your cabinets and drawers are just as concerning as the electrical cords and outlets that draw the attention of your baby who is now mobile. Wait a minute, why wasn’t this information as readily available to you as the 42 features on that stroller you purchased?
Child proofing your home is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure their safety once they become mobile. The best way to evaluate how to make their home a safe environment is by going through this easy check list:
Get on our hands and knees and look at every room from your baby’s perspective. Electrical outlets, cords, and stairs are all areas that need to be secured.
- Stairways: Make sure you purchase hardware mounted gates for top of stairs. If you have a basement, be sure that stairway is secured along with your main staircase. Pressure mounted gates are fine for bottom of stair protection and between rooms. Garage attached to your home? That doorway is definitely in need of a gate!
- Doors and windows: Now is the time to secure the windows in your child’s room. Both window stops and window guards provide the necessary protection. Choose what best fits your personal security.
- TVs and Furniture: All televisions in your home should be secured to prevent tipping. Dressers in baby’s room, as well your bedroom and any other tall piece of furniture should be secured to prevent topping over. Once your child becomes mobile, curiosity will be the catalyst to provide climbing skills.
- Drawers/Cabinets: All kitchen, bathroom and utility room drawers and cabinets should be secured to prevent your child from accessing dangers of cleaning supplies, utensils, medication, and so much more. Drawer and cabinet locks are available in both screw mount and adhesive mount installations. Don’t forget to secure your appliances as well. Little one’s begin exploring and their view and excitement do not include safety precautions.
- Kitchen: All those cabinets and drawers! As mentioned in #5 – so many dangers to be secured. Additionally, the stove. Most injuries involving stoves are from pots of boiling water or hot soups being pulled onto curious little ones. A stove guard should be installed in all homes with small children. In addition, always use the back burners as a first choice. This prevents little hands from getting burned from hot surfaces at the front of the stove. When cooking, handles should be turned in so no accidental spills occur.
- Bathroom: Toilets pose the danger of drowning. Your toddler is top heavy and curious. There is a variety of toilet locks on the market.
- Furniture: Once your baby starts crawling and can pull themselves up – well, they go down just as easy. Those sharp edges of tables, and counter tops can easily injure your child. Corner and table protectors come in a variety of colors and sizes. Most can even be mounted on the bottom side of counter edges which provides added protection for little ones.
- Doors: When you child becomes mobile, their curiosity to the outside world is forefront. Installing door locks not only prevents them from quickly getting outside, but it can also keep them out of rooms in the house where they should not be. Also protective products that get placed in door hinges help prevent little fingers from getting closed in doors. There are a variety of products on the market including locks for bi-fold doors.
- Fireplaces: Beside the danger of getting burned, most fireplace hearths are made of hard surfaces which can cause bumps and bruises to little ones, and worse yet head injuries. A safety gate installed around the hearth or wood burning stove will prevent these injuries. There is also padded safety products designed especially for the raised hearths – perfect for those seasons when the fireplace is not in use.
- Cribs and Beds: As your little ones become mobile, getting out of their crib becomes an achievement – and much stress for you. Installing a convertible crib rail will prevent them from falling out and getting injured while sound asleep. And when they awake, they can safely come looking for you. If your child is ready to transition to a “big” bed, bedrails will keep them protected from falling out of bed, and still allow for their walk down to the hallway to bunk with mom and dad.
Remember, your child depends on you to keep them safe and secure. They are only little for such a short time. You will not be able to protect them from everything. There will be skinned knees, fat lips, and the disappointments that will bring tears to their eyes. As they develop from infants to toddlers and start to explore their world, that you call their home – make it safe!
Lorraine Parisi is the Marketing Services Manager for KidCo, Inc. In addition to her ten years’ experience in the juvenile products industry, she has personally enjoyed 25 years of being a mother and the hands on experience with her 20+ nieces and nephews which includes a newborn.
“In 25 years of raising my daughter and son, I have never met an age I did not like. And I have found that in the heart of a mother, no matter how old your children are, you always want to keep them safe!”