Now that your little one is mobile, it's time to make some changes around the house to keep baby safe. Sharp corners, dangerous chemicals, or breakable objects are a few of the things toddlers like to explore. And don’t forget that everything little ones find will go straight into their mouths. But don't worry—you don't have to live in a sterile, empty box to keep your child safe. You just need to make a few small adjustments around the house.
The best way to start is by getting on your hands and knees in each room. What do you see as potential hazards? If you need some help as your family makes the transition from baby to toddler, here are a few ideas to make your home a safe zone.
Cabinets and drawers are exciting places for little people to explore, but they can be dangerous places if they contain toxic cleaning chemicals, medicines, or sharp objects. The safest baby-proofing method requires you to store all these hazardous things in high cabinets out of reach. If upper cabinets aren't an option, install special latches on cabinets and drawers to prevent children from being able to open them. Toilet water poses a drowning risk for toddlers, so attach a special latch to keep the toilet lid closed.
Not all toys are safe for toddlers. Bouncy balls, Barbie shoes, and Lego sets are tiny toys that babies like to put in their mouths. Families with older children often have small toys lying around and must stay vigilant to keep them out of baby's reach. Not sure which toys pose a choking risk? Do the toilet paper roll test. If a toy is small enough to fit in the cardboard roll, it's too small for a toddler to play with.
Some areas of the home may need to be completely off limits for baby. Stairs, siblings' rooms, bathrooms, or the craft room all hold possible dangers and should be closed off. A gate is a great way to keep your child contained. To have the safest gate that your little one won’t be able to get past, don’t go with a pressure-mounted gate. Rather, look for one that can be mounted to the wall. It will require a few screws, but patching up small holes is better than your little one busting through the gate.
What is it about electrical outlets that attract babies? They're drawn to them like bees to honey. To prevent your child from poking a small metal object into an outlet and getting shocked, cover all exposed outlets with simple covers.
Once a baby starts pulling up to stand and climbing on things, it's time to take additional safety precautions. Look at every piece of furniture like a toddler and try to figure out the most dangerous way it could be approached. Then remedy the problem. Big furniture like dressers and bookshelves or things like televisions must be anchored tightly to the wall to prevent the tragedy of them falling onto a child. Secure corner bumpers onto coffee tables or end tables with sharp corners.
Kids like to play with dangling cords, and blind cords, computer cords, and appliance cords all pose a strangulation risk. Pulling on cords attached to something heavy can also lead to injury. Keep all cords out of reach or fastened against the wall. Also, you should never place a child's bed near a window with drapes or blinds.
Families with a pool, hot tub, or pond in the backyard must take extreme measures to protect kids from accidental drowning. A fence that’s at least four feet high and has a self-latching gate should surround pools. As an added precaution, pool toys should never be left floating in the water and hot tubs need to be covered when not in use, as both will tempt little ones to go in at all the wrong times. Gate or door alarms are a worthwhile investment to alert parents when kids go outside.