No one likes to go through the painstaking process of childproofing their home, but it's one of those things that has to be done. When we had our first child, we weren't prepared for the amount of work it took to babyproof our home. To help you avoid making the same mistakes we did and to save you some time, here are five tips for childproofing your home.
1. Keep Everything Up and Out of Reach
When I say to keep everything out of reach, I do mean everything. Picture frames, the TV, candles, valuables, breakables – anything you don't want your child to touch should be put up and out of reach.
We made the mistake of leaving picture frames out on the side tables. When our oldest was finally able to run around the house, she quickly grabbed hold of one and smashed it on the floor. Glass was everywhere. She cried. I panicked. It was a mess.
Don't make the same mistake. Keep these things out of reach so that you can avoid a catastrophe. If you don't have a mantel or shelf to put picture frames on, hang them on the walls.
2. Install Cabinet Locks or Dummy Cabinets
Cabinets hold all kinds of things, like pots, pans, cleaning products, your favorite makeup and hair products. All of these things are within your child's reach if you don't install cabinet locks.
And if your kids are smart (like ours), you may need to take more drastic measures.
Our oldest figured out how to bypass just about every childproof solution out there for cabinets. We finally gave up and just installed new custom kitchen cabinets. You may not need to go to this extreme (our kitchen was due for an upgrade anyway), but you may need to empty out cabinets or rearrange your entire kitchen if no other childproofing method works for you.
3. Install Outlet Covers
Covering outlets is essential, especially if you have a curious toddler. Leaving outlets exposed is just asking for trouble.
If your little one gets a hold of a metal object and sticks it in the power socket, she'll electrocute herself.
Covers are inexpensive and easy to install. If you have power strips, keep them hidden behind furniture where your kids can't reach. For good measure, buy a power-strip cover.
You don't want to take any chances with electricity.
4. Anchor Dressers and Heavy Furniture
If you have dressers in your child's room, make sure they are secure. Each year, 15,000 kids visit the ER for tip-over injuries.
Heavy furniture should be anchored to the floor or wall to prevent these injuries. If you don't know how to anchor the furniture, then you may need to move it out of the room.
5. Secure Appliances
Curious kids can make a mess of the kitchen. Sometimes, they get into the flour or the pots and pans. While not ideal, this usually isn't the end of the world.
But if your child is playing with the stove or hiding out in the refrigerator, you have a much bigger problem on your hands.
Make sure that all small appliances are out of reach of small hands, and find a way to lock the oven door. Some modern models have locks, but if yours doesn't, you can install a latch.
These are just a few things you need to work on when childproofing your home. Be sure to go through every room in the house and remove potential hazards.