New parents oftentimes spend months preparing their home for the arrival of their newborn (who will soon be a teetering toddler), stowing away breakable knick-knacks and the good china and gating off stairways. But can you be sure that you’ve covered all situations that are potentially dangerous, whether for the apple of your eye or for your family heirlooms? Consider the following suggestions for further child-proofing your home.
Certain obvious disaster situations that need to be guarded against include firearms and sharp knives. Sure, maybe you’ve set the safety on your hunting gun and snapped your knives into their cases, but a curious child can do just about anything. Best to take the extra measure of locking everything away in a cabinet or a case that is stowed out of the way – even better if your kids don’t even know you have potential weapons in your home. Keep an eye on gardening tools and the workroom, as well – screwdrivers, nails, hammers, and shears can all be just as harmful. Hanging them well out of reach is one idea, or making certain that doors to those areas are always locked securely.
Toxics – kitchen cleaning, medicine cabinet & purse, garden shed, garage
Small children have the tendency to explore, a wonderful characteristic unless they go rooting through the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Poisonous substances are all around us and need to be stored in such a way as to not allow children to accidentally swallow them. Many containers come designed with child-proof lids that even some adults have trouble prying off, but for extra caution, pull toxic matters out from low spaces and stash them away on a high shelf. Do the same with your medicine cabinet, and keep an eye on purses or bags that may contain pill boxes or prescription medication. Also, don’t forget about toxic liquids in the garage and the garden shed; fertilizers, weed killers, auto oil, and gasoline are serious hazards.
A flimsy screen will likely not support the weight of a child’s body and should not be considered a sufficient barrier. Rather, bar windows that will put a child in immediate danger of falling out, though remember that at least one window in each room must allow escape access in case of a fire.
Speaking of fire, fully-functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential, as is a complete list of emergency numbers, including poison control and the doctor. Orient babysitters with home security systems and make sure that they are familiar with how to activate and turn off the home alarm, as well as how to contact police, fire, and emergency dispatch. Child caregivers should also be familiar with basic first aid and what do to in case of an emergency – if you are placing your trust in someone else to care for your child, be sure that they have all of the right skills and tools.
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