Childproofing a house - A room by room guide
May 13, 2011
As many parents can attest, children can unknowingly work their way into a number of dangerous situations. But there are a number of ways parents can prevent many of these hazards from hurting their kids by adding safety measures throughout their home.
The kitchen has a number of potential dangers for children. Safe Kids USA says parents with children in the house should be sure to keep any household products or chemicals locked away or out of their child's potential reach.
When cooking, Safe Kids USA also says parents should cook using the back burners as much as possible, and keep any handles pointed toward the wall. Sharp objects such as kitchen knives should also be kept well away from any accessible edge.
In the bedroom, Safe Kids USA says it’s important to use anchors to secure any heavy or tall furniture to the wall so it can't tip over.
Additionally, space heaters used in any bedroom should be kept at least three feet away from anything flammable, since they can easily tip over if bumped.
The bathroom also has a number of hazards for young children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says after buying a home, parents may want to see if their faucets have anti-scald devices, which can prevent burns from hot water, and set their water heater to a maximum temperate of 120 degrees.
Safe Kids USA adds parents may want to consider purchasing a toilet lock, and a lock for the bathroom door, to keep children away from potential danger.
Backyard and garage
There also a number of steps parents can take to make their backyard and garage safer. Homeowners with a garage should check to see if the garage door opener has a failsafe mechanism, which prevents the door from closing if it detects anything in the way. Any harsh chemicals or products in the garage should also be kept well out of reach.
If there is a pool or hot tub, the CPSC says to make sure it is covered at all times when it's not in use, and keep a fence around it.
Inflatable pools should be emptied when they are not in use to prevent drowning.
There are also a number of safety tips parents should follow in every area of their home, such as installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on each level of the home and testing them regularly. To help prevent electric shock, the CPSC says outlet covers should also be used for any open electrical socket. They are usually available at any major department store.
Safety gates can help keep children from falling down the stairs or keep them out of any off-limits areas. Consumer Reports regularly reviews safety gates so parents can ensure they purchase a high-quality product.