My son never crawled. In fact, Keenan was completely stationary until he started walking. For his whole first year, I could plop him down in the middle of the floor and he wouldn’t be able to move around or get into trouble. To tell you the truth, I kind of miss never having to worry about where he was going or what he was getting into.
Once your child starts moving, everything in your home suddenly seems hazardous. The truth is, for babies and young children, many common household items can be very dangerous. With so many areas of the house to baby-proof, it’s not easy to catch absolutely everything. Read on to learn about some commonly missed household dangers and how to fix them.
The danger: Your child couldn’t possibly tip over that heavy dresser, right? Wrong. Kids like to climb on things. And it won’t take much for that seemingly steady piece of furniture to tip over, pinning your child underneath. Your child would likely be injured or killed merely from the impact of the furniture, or they could suffocate from the pressure after just a few minutes.
The fix: Purchase some inexpensive furniture straps or “L” brackets. Bolting your furniture to the wall will ensure that it doesn’t come crashing down should your child decide to climb it. Installation will only take a few minutes, and it could save your child’s life.
Special note: My inspiration for this post came from Meghan’s Hope, an organization that raises awareness about the dangers of tipping furniture. If you have a chance, you should check out this website and spread the word. It will break your heart, but it will hopefully save some children’s lives.
Your water heater
The danger: If you read my post about National Bath Safety Month, you’ll know that scald burns are common and can be quite serious. When water gets too hot, the sink and bathtub can be deadly for children.
The fix: Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees F. At this temperature, you’ll still have sufficiently hot water to do the dishes and the laundry, but it will be cool enough that your child won’t easily be burned.
The danger: Much like furniture, TVs can easily tip over. With all the buttons and lights, TVs are a prime target for little hands. The bigger flat screens get, the more dangerous they are for children. TVs are also getting lighter and lighter, which makes it easier for them to fall over.
The fix: If your TV is securely wall-mounted, you’re probably okay. If it’s on a stand or on the floor, however, you’ll need to purchase a safety strap. The KidCo Anti-Tip TV Safety Strap can attach to either the stand or the wall and it will prevent the screen from tipping forward.
Your baby monitor cords
The danger: Baby monitor cords are a potential strangulation hazard for babies. Many parents make the mistake of placing monitors too close to the crib. It’s not too hard for a baby to reach through the crib bars and grab the monitor; if the cords happen to end up around the baby’s neck, strangulation is just a few minutes away.
The fix: Place monitors and their cords a minimum of three feet away from the crib. If possible, secure wires to the wall or hide them behind furniture.
Your neighbor’s pool
The danger: If you’ve got a pool, you’ve probably already taken steps to keep your child away from the water. However, if any of your neighbors have pools, there’s nothing to stop your child from wandering into their yard and gaining access to the water.
The fix: Have a serious talk with your neighbors and offer to childproof the pool for them. Offer to help them pay for any safety devices. Here are some things that you and your neighbors should consider for pool safety.
- Door alarms. You can put as many locks on your outside doors as you want, but toddlers and young children are resourceful; they’ll find a way to get out. Install door alarms (like this one from Amazon) so that you’re aware of your children try to leave the house. This way, you’ll catch them before they ever make it to your pool, or your neighbor’s.
- Pool fence. Whether it’s an in-ground or above-ground pool, a fence will provide a barrier to keep out kids that aren’t supposed to be there.
- Pool alarms. You can purchase floating alarms that will detect disturbances in the water. That way, should a child actually make it to the pool, you’ll be aware and able to rescue them.
- Pool cover. Even in the summer, you can use a rigid pool safety cover to keep children and pets from falling into the water. Keep your pool covered whenever it’s not in use.
I strongly urge you to take as many of these safety measures as possible. Don’t live with the “it can’t happen to me” attitude, because no matter how vigilant you are about supervising your children, bad things can happen. You should be doing everything you can to make sure your child’s environment is safe. Most of these safety measures only cost a few dollars and will just take a few minutes of your time. When it comes to your children, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.