To make sure that your home is a safe haven for your children - and you - learn to spot and eliminate hazards throughout the house. This childproofing checklist will show you how.
Safety measures to childproof your home for every room:
- Install child-resistant covers on all electrical outlets.
- Keep dangerous chemicals out of children's reach. For strings and ribbons, follow the six-inch rule.
- Always use a safety belt on your baby when she is sitting in a bouncy seat or a swing.
- Shorten curtain and blind cords.
- Place furniture well away from windows.
- Use corner bumpers on furniture and fireplace-hearth edges.
- Place houseplants out of children's reach.
- Know the names of all plants in case a child eats one of them.
- Keep cigarettes, matches, and lighters out of children's reach.
- Safeguard heating and gas systems against accidents. Be sure that furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and gas appliances are vented properly.
- Place screened barriers around fireplaces, radiators, and portable space heaters.
- Install carbon-monoxide (CO) alarms outside bedrooms to help prevent CO poisoning.
- Install smoke alarms outside each bedroom and on every level of your home.
- Remove the plastic end caps on doorstops or replace the stops with a one-piece design to prevent choking.
- Consider placing plastic guards along the hinge side of frequently used interior doors to prevent the doors from pinching fingers.
- Safety-proof windows and fire exits.
- Make a fire evacuation plan and practice fire escape routes at least twice a year.
- Keep firearms and ammunition safely locked away.
- Secure unsteady furnishings.
- Avoid household water hazards.
- Test homes built before 1978 for lead paint.
- Learn first aid and CPR.
Childproofing hallways and staircases:
- Avoid dark hallways and rugs that slip.
- Safety-proof stairs.
- If possible, install carpeting on stairways to protect from falls.
Child proof your kids' rooms:
- Position your child's crib away from all drapery, electrical cords, and windows. Make sure the crib meets national safety standards.
- Make sure the mattress fits snugly.
- Be sure the crib sheet fits snugly.
- If you use a crib bumper, make sure it's firm (not fluffy) and secured tightly with at least six ties.
- Remove mobiles and other hanging toys from the crib as soon as your child can reach up and touch them.
- Place infants under one year on their backs to sleep.
- Never use an electric blanket in the bed or crib of a small child or infant.
- Place night-lights at least three feet away from the crib, bedding, and draperies to prevent fires.
- Always use a safety belt on your infant when you have her on a changing table, and never leave her unattended.
- Provide padding for falls.
- Check age labels for appropriate toys. Be vigilant about choking hazards.
- Use side railings for children just getting used to "big kid" beds. If bedrooms are on second or third stories, be sure to have a fire-escape ladder in each room.