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Babies and toddlers are curious by nature—even when it’s dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls, burns, poisoning, drowning and road traffic are a leading cause of injury and even death in this young age group.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your home and living areas safer for your baby, starting with these doctor-recommended babyproofing precautions:

  • Anchor furniture to the wall using straps or brackets. If it can be pulled down (think flat screen TVs and tall china cabinets), it’s a possible deadly hazard for babies and toddlers.
  • De-clutter your home. Get down on your child’s eye level and remove small objects that could be choking hazards.
  • Use baby gates to block stairways and create boundaries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, falls are the fifth-leading cause of accidental death in children 1-4 years old. Babies and toddlers love to explore and climb, and stairs are very inviting, so block them off at the top and bottom with baby gates. You can also opt for childproof doorknobs and closed doors instead of gates. Keep in mind that close supervision is still needed as it only takes one instance of forgetting to close that door for an accident or injury to occur.
  • Use childproof latches on drawers, cabinets and doorknobs. Many household chemicals and cleaners are poisonous, so make sure there is no access to storage areas in your kitchen, bathrooms, and closets.
  • Secure all blinds and electrical cords in your home. Don’t leave cords hanging within your child’s reach. They are a hazard for both choking and fall injuries.
  • Keep all medications, household cleaners, pesticides, toiletries, and alcoholic beverages out of reach. For a list of common household poisons, visit the Poison Control website.
  • Keep the Poison Control telephone number (1-800-222-1222) on speed dial on your cell phones and home phone, and on hand for babysitters. If your child ingests anything you aren’t sure about (even houseplants or mushrooms), the American Association of Poison Control Centers will put your mind at ease or let you know when you have a real emergency.
  • Babyproof your kitchen. Keep knives out of reach, and secure tabletop appliances.
  • Cover electrical outlets within your child’s reach with safety caps.
  • Don’t leave your child unattended in the bathtub or near any container of liquid. Babies and infants can drown in less than a quart of water. The CDC reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury and death for children ages 1-4.
  • Practice pool safety if your home has a swimming pool.
  • If you can afford the expense, hire a professional childproofer.

Remember, even the best babyproofing does not take the place of constant adult supervision. It is impossible to stay one step ahead of a curious child.

Takeaways

  • Get down on your baby’s level when baby proofing and look for hazards at ground level.
  • Consider drowning, falls, burns, choking and poisoning when determining possible hazards.
  • Drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4.
  • Babyproofing is not a substitute for supervision.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Childhood Injury Report.
  2. “The Pediatrician’s Role and Responsibility in Educating Parents About Environmental Risks,” Pediatrics 2004;114(3):1167-117.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drownings: The Reality.
 

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Comments

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  1. How do you suggest baby proofing with a four year old in the house? All the 3+ yr toys have so many small pieces!

  2. Even with four kids, I still need to update some babyproofing things! Kids seem to be like magnets to things they shouldn’t have.

    1. So true. We have to be so vigilant as parents to make sure our kids are safe, especially with the small toy parts I’m sure your other 3 have out all the time.

  3. I agree with the last comment. I am amazed that we are still baby proofing after 3 kids. They climb and find things you never would have thought about

  4. Thank you, this is very informative!

  5. Even though we have baby #2 this was a great reminder on what else we need to do to babyproof our home.

    1. Babyproofing is definitely not just a one time thing, but something we as parents need to constantly be aware of.

  6. I have seen countless children hospitalized because they have gotten into cleaning products, medications, or swallowed small items they picked up off the floor. I can’t stress enough the importance of baby proofing!

  7. Good info to know!! My house is definitely not baby proofed right now!

  8. Great article! Sometimes babyproofing seems so overwhelming so it helps to have a guide. =)

  9. This is really good and helpful!

  10. Thanks for the great advice on baby proofing.

  11. This is so helpful!

  12. Thank you. It’s almost time for me to babyproof the house again. I noticed it just the other night as I was in the rocking chair in my room. We re-arranged our rooms and furniture a couple weeks ago and I see a lot of cords that just in a couple months I will not be able to have laying around the way they are. Baby gates are on my list too. My 4 year old was definitely a climber, he figured out he could climb the gates too soon.