PA Requirements - Blog

Why is it Important to Childproof your Home? And What Do You Need?
Posted by Mary Thompson

As we all know, safety is important and your child’s safety is a top priority. It's easy for babies and toddlers to get in trouble because they don't know what danger is, which is why they need constant supervision. And even though your baby is not in the crawling stage yet, there’s still a lot of things you have to prepare for and tools you are going to need to keep them away from danger as they grow.

Before your little one starts to curiously wander around the house you must know the places they shouldn't be allowed in, so take your time and look around your home and make sure it is free of any hazards before your baby is born. Because before you know it they will be walking and climbing things.

Young kids have the highest risk of being injured at home because they spend most of their time there. Therefore, as parents we must prepare and prevent any accidents from happening. If you’re a first time parent, don’t worry, here are a couple of tips and products that will help you keep them in a secure and happy environment.

Keeping your child from accessing areas in the house

Once your baby starts the walking stage, they will want to touch everything and explore every part of the house out of curiosity. But, there are just some places they shouldn't be allowed in. One of the first steps in childproofing your home is restricting areas by maintaining interior doors closed and secured with door latches, door knob covers or top-of-door latches that can be operated from both sides of the door. Make sure you always keep your child away from garages, basements, home offices and bathrooms.

Playpens are perfect at creating a safe and fun play space for your child. They allow them to have their own area where they can rest, play and even be bottle fed. But that's not the only cool thing about them. Most playpens are portable and easy to carry, some even fold to fit in the back of your vehicle, making it easy to take them anywhere. Especially if you’re visiting someone’s home that hasn't been childproofed.

Wall-mounted gates are another great invention that can be installed in any area of the house. Such as, hallways, top of the stairs, bottom of the stairs, or be used as room dividers. They help keep your child inside in case you want to open a door for ventilation. Hardware mounted gates are the most secure option since they have to be secured into wall studs.

Electrical Safety

If your baby is starting to crawl and explore their surroundings it’s important that all unused outlets are covered. The reason for this is to prevent your baby from electrocuting or injuring themselves by shoving their tiny fingers or metal objects into the holes. Outlets are very dangerous and can be found anywhere in the house, even outside! Thankfully, they make power strip covers, outlet shields and plug protectors.

These devices are simple plastic units that secure the socket once plugged in. Even though they are meant to stay in the outlet, sometimes you or another adult might take the safety off to plug in something else and forget to put the safety back. To prevent this from happening make it a habit to go around the house checking if all the outlet protectors are still in place.

Water Preventions and Safety

Drownings are the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children left unattended around water between the ages 1-4 according to the American Academy of Pediatricians. And which room in the house is the easiest to access water? "The bathroom is a huge area where injury can occur, kids can drown in small amounts of water — even just a few inches." Meghann Wellard, a Maryland pediatric nurse practitioner, told the Today News.

But babies and toddlers love to play with water. It doesn't matter to them if it’s clean or dirty, they are just drawn to it. And there’s nothing wrong with letting them near water, just as long as they’re under an adult’s supervision and are receiving their complete and undivided attention. So here are some things parents should be aware of when having their kids around water:

  • Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub or with a young sibling.
  • Make sure to never leave any water in the bathtub after finishing a bath.
  • Install toilet locks to keep your toddler from playing with dirty toilet water and from throwing things in it.
  • Place non-slip decals and a padded spout cover on the faucet to prevent falls and head injuries.
  • If you own a pool, a removable or permanent pool fence must be installed to keep small children from accidentally falling into it.

Medicines

As we grow older, the visits to the doctor’s office become more frequent. And most of the time we come back home carrying an orange-colored bottle full of pills to help us feel better. And even though prescribed bottles of medication have child-resistant caps, there are still many over-the-counter pill bottles that don’t have that same protection and children tend to confuse medicine for candy. That's why we recommend this:

  • Make sure you always close your pill bottles after taking your medication.
  • Never leave pills laying around or misplace a tablet in your home.
  • Always keep medication in their original containers.
  • Don't ever tell your kids that medicine tastes like candy.
  • If you keep your medicine in the bathroom cabinet, you need to install safety locks to keep your child away from prescriptions and other toxic substances.

Keeping Cleaning Products Away

We all know that kids will put anything they find in their mouths, this is called oral sensory seeking. Children between the ages of 18-24 months use their mouth as a second pair of eyes to explore the world. The mouth gives the brain more information about an object, such as the size, texture and even shape. This helps them develop their sensory motor skills. That’s why it is always important you keep any hazardous liquids and soaps away from them.

Most people have their household chemicals stored underneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Which makes them accessible to anyone, that’s why it is important to secure your cabinets with interior latches or external locks. If you feel like you might forget to reattach the external lock after opening your cabinet, you can always store your cleaning products out of your children's sight and reach or follow these simple rules:

  • Keep your cleaning products in their original bottles. Don’t put them in food containers or soda bottles. Your child might associate the color of the label and shape of the container for something they can eat or drink.
  • While cleaning, keep your bottles on the counter and keep a close watch on the bucket to make sure your child is nowhere around it.
  • Never spray insect killer on furniture or mattresses, nor leave any roach powders or rat poison on the floor.
  • When using chemical cleaning products, make sure there is good ventilation in the room. It’s easy for fumes to build up without you realizing it.
  • In case of any accidental chemical ingestion, immediately call 911 or the National Poison Control Center for advice.

There’s a variety of child-proofing devices that keep your little one out of trouble and it is your responsibility as a parent to create a safe environment for them. You might be wondering, do I really need these safety devices? The answer is, absolutely. Even though most child-proofing devices aren't made to last forever, they are effective in keeping your child safe while they grow up and they also add a layer of protection from greater risks. Just remember to keep checking cabinets, drawers, and outlets in case some of the devices may have worn out or fallen and are in need of a replacement.

In short, accidents will happen. Kids will fall, stumble, trip and slam their fingers with a door as much as adults do. There’s no child-proofing for that, and when that happens, just make sure to be there for your child and comfort them. Let them know that everything is going to be okay. Remember your child’s best defense is your watchfulness, so keep items that distract you, like your phone, away from you. Don’t forget that close, constant and attentive supervision is important to keep them away from harm.