By Joy Paley, who also writes for onlinecollegedegrees.net and has also written at length about phlebotomy.
Every year, millions of babies in the U.S. go to the ER. One literature review on the subject noted that the home affords a virtual breeding ground for accidents to children. As an emergency medical worker, you’ve probably seen some of those accidents. Luckily, the home is also the easiest place to prevent a traumatic injury, if you take the right steps. Here are 10 simple ways you can make your home safer for you kid, and for your own peace of mind.
1. Do the Baby Crawl
Yep, get down on your hands and knees and check out how your baby views your home. Take note of any hazards within baby’s grasp, like cleaning chemicals, light sockets, or sharp edges on walls or furniture, and take the necessary steps to make them safe for your kid.
2. Secure Your Cabinets
Secure cabinets and drawers with enclosures, to keep any curious tots out of your stuff. It will keep them from hurting themselves or accidentally choking, and it will also prevent them from dumping all your belongings onto the floor.
3. Get the Ipecac
This old timey remedy is still excellent to have in your home, in case your baby ingests anything poisonous or toxic. The syrup induces vomiting; call the doctor first to make sure it’s safe to use for any particular type of poisonous ingestion.
4. Chuck the Knick Knacks
Babies don’t have any taste preferences, I’ll tell you that right now. Rid your home of any little odds and ends that would pose a chocking hazard, like shelf knick knacks. Throw out your fridge magnets too – they can fall off and become a choking hazard.
5. Turn Down Your Water Heater
When giving your child a bath, you don’t want them to accidentally turn the heat up all the way and scald themselves. It’s best to set your water heater at 110-120 degrees, to prevent any water-related burns.
6. Proof Those Windows
Ensure that any windows in your house only open about 5-6 inches. You can install window guards to keep them from opening all the way. Watch the hanging strings from window blinds as well, and tie them up so kids can’t reach them and get tangled up.
7. Secure Tall Furniture
Babies love to use furniture for balance. Make sure that any large items you have, like armoires or bookcases, are secured to the wall, to keep them from toppling over.
8. Be a Smart Cook
Stay aware of yourself while you’re working with hot foods and liquids. Don’t let your child play in front of the stove, and use only the back burners if possible. Make sure that handles are turned towards the back of the stove, so they can’t be reached by little hands.
It’s best to keep any kitchen appliances unplugged when you’re not using them. This will keep kids from inadvertently scalding themselves on a toaster or still-hot coffee maker.
10. Check Your Detectors
Even parents with the best of intentions can leave something hazardous laying within their toddler’s grasp. Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all functioning, and that you have one in every room. While you’re at it, put your pediatrician and the poison control center’s phone number on your speed dial. It never hurts to be prepared.
The Bottom Line: Baby-proofing your home is a combination of passive and active steps. You first have to make sure that your house is a babyproof fortress by securing, locking, and removing anything hazardous. The second step is monitoring your own actions and ensuring that you’re not doing anything that could accidentally hurt your kid.