Homes can easily turn into hazardous areas for young children if a few appropriate precautions aren’t taken. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 ways to childproof your home, from covering up all electrical outlets to employing fencing contractors to install security fencing around your backyard pool.
1. Cover all electrical outlets
Electrical outlets or “power points” are often just the right height for even crawling children to reach. The power of even a minor electric shock can be enough to cause severe damage and even death to a small child. Childproof electrical outlet safety covers can be purchased to ensure young ones avoid electrical danger.
2. Keep poisonous products away
Cleaning products, chemicals, medicines — all of these are essential in any household, but most of them also pose a poisoning hazard for children. Whether it’s in the bathroom or kitchen, always ensure dangerous chemicals are kept out of reach. If they must be kept in a low cupboard, use child-safe cupboard locks to ensure they can’t get in when your back is turned.
3. Install smoke detectors
Obviously, this one is crucial for the safety of the entire household, but it’s particularly important in homes with young children who may not be able to escape the home on their own in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors can warn you of impending fire hazards before they get out of control. Fire extinguishers designed for home use are also a good option.
4. Watch for sharp edges
Your household furniture may look fantastic, but look a little closer and you’re bound to see sharp edges, protruding bolts and other dangers that could cause injury to your child. All it takes is a slight fall and landing in the wrong spot for a very real accident to occur. Sharp edges and bolts can be covered with rubber cushioning products to increase safety.
5. Beware of choking hazards
Once you’ve ensured that all big furniture is sharp-edge-free, it’s time to turn your attention to the little things in the house. Any item within the reach of a child that can fit into the child’s mouth is a definite choking hazard and needs to be kept at a safe height. This includes items like lego, nuts, beads, coins, pens, batteries, safety pins, ornaments and more.
6. Watch for blind and curtain cords
It may sound surprising, but loose blind and curtain cords or chains can be very dangerous, especially if they have loops. Children playing with these cords can become tangled and, as they move around, create a strangulation hazard. Since the early 1990s over a dozen Australian children have died in this fashion. Keep cords secured and out of reach.
7. Use stair gates
If you live in a two-storey house — or simply a house that has stairs that a child can climb — then it pays to remember a child can fall down those stairs as quickly as they ascended them. Losing balance and falling down even a couple of stairs can be life-threatening for children, so be sure to use lockable, childproof stairgates to stop them from getting up there in the first place.
8. Beware of breakables
Items such as glass plates, cups and household ornaments can shatter when knocked to the ground. While you’ll probably hear the smash when something like this happens, it may already be too late as your child comes in contact with one of the broken shards. Ensure all breakable items are kept out of reach or locked in cupboards.
9. Empty water from bathtubs
After a bath is had, be sure to empty the water from the bathtub immediately. If not, youngsters may re-enter the bathroom later. Even if the water is not high, a simple slip that leads to them becoming unconscious could result in drowning. Toilets also pose drowning hazards for young toddlers, so be sure to keep toilet doors locked at all times.
10. Secure your pool
Pool fencing is required by law around Australia and with good reason. All it takes is one slip and a few unsupervised seconds for a child fall into a pool and drown. Each state has its own regulations on pool fencing, but generally fences must be 1.2 metres high with no obvious climbing spots and a gate that can only swings outwards from the pool area.