Though September is National Baby Safety month, it’s obviously important to think about child safety throughout the year. When you think about how to baby proof your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You don’t want anything to hurt your baby, but there seem to be kids safety concerns around every corner. By simply taking a step back and creating a babyproofing plan of action one room at a time, you’ll be more likely to make sure you’ve thought of everything to keep your kids safe.
The time to think about baby safety is before your child begins to pull up on furniture or learns to walk. You’ll want to have safety measures in place and avoid having to constantly pull your baby away from a danger zone.
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places for babies and toddlers. Following are some of the safety tips you’ll want to consider as you baby proof your kitchen:
Never allow your child to crawl or play in the kitchen while you are cooking, even if it’s just boiling water on the stove top. Water that has reached 140 degrees can cause a third degree burn in just five seconds. While the oven or stove is in use, place your child in an exersaucer or pack n play, or simply keep your child in an area behind a baby gate.
If it is not possible to restrict your child from the kitchen, make sure you turn all pot handles toward the rear of the stove, use back burners whenever possible and install knob covers if your gas or electric controls are within baby’s reach.
Keep hot liquids such as coffee or hot cocoa out of reach of children as well. If you make a hot beverage for yourself, be sure to set it down on a countertop as far away from the edge as possible.
Install cabinet and drawer locks. You can purchase locks that screw into the drawers and have to be pushed to open, magnetic locks that open with a master magnet key and in the case of cabinets, several varieties of locks that require an adult’s strength to unlatch. An easy way to make sure you know which locks you need is to use your cell phone to snap pictures of your cabinet hardware. You might also jot down the measurement between cabinet door handles before heading out to make a babyproof lock purchase. This way, when you see how many different choices of locks there are, you’ll be able to pinpoint which lock applies to your kitchen hardware.
Unplug all small kitchen appliances when they are not in use and remove any blades or other dangerous parts. If possible store appliances in a locked cabinet so that a child can not reach or climb up and pull an appliance down on top of himself.
Purchase and install an oven wall mount. A child who opens an oven door and uses it as a ledge to climb on can topple an entire oven onto his or her small body, resulting in a crushing injury or death.
Consider keeping household cleaners, bleach, dishwasher detergent, medications or any other item containing a chemical on the top shelf of a closet or in a high kitchen cabinet. This will prevent accidental poisoning if you should ever forget to lock a cabinet where baby would otherwise have access.
You might also consider keeping kitchen utensils in an adult-eye-level cabinet, rather than in a drawer.
Move dog food or cat food to another location as it can present a choking hazard to small children.
Keep styrofoam cups, sponges or anything your child can chew on and break apart out of reach. These items can present choking hazards as well as internal complications if swallowed.
Remove small refrigerator magnets or any magnets that can become separated from their decorative outer covering.
Remove the wheels from any rolling carts and secure your microwave or other heavy appliances to a wall instead.
Install locks on the oven door, dishwasher and refrigerator.
Use chair straps to secure chairs to the table, so that toddlers can not use them to climb.
Keep a fire extinguisher and escape plan handy at all times.
Secure all access to the outdoors by using child safe doorknob covers as well as installing a latch at the top of the door.
When your child is allowed into the kitchen, make sure he or she is wearing non-skid socks to prevent falls.
Many child safety products can be found online at sites such as OneStepAhead.com. In St. Louis, you can find babyproofing products at Babies R Us. Or, if you’d rather hire a professional to baby proof your home, you can get assistance through the St. Louis based company Childproofers.com.
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