Most parents become excited when they learn they will be bringing a new child into the world. A good deal of time and money is spent preparing the home. Often times, safety can be overlooked, because a new baby is not immediately mobile. On average, children start to crawl at eight months. This means that the home soon turns into a dangerous place as a baby becomes curious about their surroundings.
Accidents involving children occur often, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that over nine million children are taken to the emergency room each year for accident injuries. Of children between the ages of one and four, falls and poisonings accounted for the majority of accidents. Most of the accidents that end in a hospital visits occur within the home.
This is why it is vital to prepare and implement a childproofing checklist. The best advice for parents is to make sure that all items on the following childproofing checklist are completed before an infant is brought into the home.
- Create a barrier at the top and bottom of every stairway in the home. Use pressure mounted baby gates at the bottom of stairs. At the top of stairwells, you can install stud mounted gates that screw directly to the wall. Make sure that gates have closures that require the release of a lock to open the gate. This is ideal if the gate has a door or opening.
- When childproofing a home, make sure to add locks and guards on windows. A child can squeeze through a window that is open only four inches wide. Locks prevent windows from being opened unintentionally, and guards block children from accessing windows that are left open. Smarter childproofing with a childproofing checklist also involves the addition of a stopper on the track of the window, to prevent it from being opened too wide.
- Limit access to electrical sockets. Socket covers should be used for outlets that hold plugs for lamps, television sets, and other items that are always plugged in. For outlets that are rarely used, plastic plugs should be inserted. Outlet covers with sliding doors need to be installed over the socket faceplate, when outlets are sometimes utilized.
- Mount hardware on cabinet doors to keep them secure. Magnet control latches and pressure release devices are best. Make sure that hardware is made from impact-resistant plastic. Devices that are installed with wood screws directly to cabinets are best, to make sure that hardware is a permanent fixture. Use safety hardware on kitchen, bathroom, and dining room cabinets. This helps to prevent children from reaching hazardous chemicals, medications, and sharp cooking implements.
- Cushion or cover sharp table edges, window sills, counters, and desks. Use snap on silicone or plastic covers or consider foam adhesive tapes. Make sure that covers are rounded and tightly secured so they cannot dislodge. For tables and chairs that children use to prop themselves up, add heavy lead or tungsten weights to prevent the furniture from tipping.