By: Stephanie Duhon
Babies are naturally curious. They learn through all the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. That’s why baby proofing is crucial. Babies don’t know what is safe to touch or taste. They all have a stage where they will put anything in their mouths. As babies become toddlers, they run around, climb on furniture and pull down anything within their reach.
An estimated 22 million children are hurt in accidents in their homes and yards each year. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 16,000 children under age 5 went to ER in 2006 with injuries caused when furniture fell on them, such as TV sets, bookcases and other appliances. The good news? Many of these accidents can be prevented with a few simple precautions.
Experts recommend parents begin baby proofing before your baby can crawl and to modify the baby proofing as the child gets older.
Baby proofing tips:
-Install electrical outlet plugs
-Lock all windows
-Remove or shorten any cord within reach (Blind or drape cords can cause strangulation)
-Secure furniture so it can’t fall or tip over
-Keep older kid’s toys out of baby’s reach
-Keep all cleaners, medicine and makeup out of reach
-Never leave water sitting in a tub
-Place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in home (one per floor)
-Put up baby gates if you have stairs or want to block off an area of the house
-Cover sharp corners with corner guards (such as coffee tables or end tables)
-Keep floors clean and vacuumed (make sure there are no small items lying around, such as buttons or marbles)
-Make sure garbage can has a tight lid
-Install latches to keep cabinets/drawers closed
Not sure what else your baby can reach? Get down on all fours and crawl around to see your home from your baby’s point of view. What items are within reach? What would be tempting to a young child? As your baby begins walking, get down to their new level and look again. Child proofing is an ongoing process.
And keep in mind that accidents will still happen. Toddlers who are just learning to walk are often clumsy and may fall. And I know from personal experience that kids can often get into mischief faster than you can turn around! I am extremely vigilant about keeping an eye on my daughter. I am always worried she will hurt herself, but children are fast! I remember one time I was cooking dinner and my daughter was on the floor playing with some pots.She had just started walking and I learned that day, she also knew how to climb! I had left a box of cookies on the table and next thing I knew she was ON THE TABLE WITH THE BOX OF COOKIES! She didn’t get hurt, but it reminded me to make sure my table is always clear so there is no temptation for her to climb where she shouldn’t. These small, but significant, safety measures will at least help reduce the risk of severe accidents.