Your toddler is a smart and curious child. He wants to learn more about the world using his newfound skills and growing understanding of how things work. But unfortunately for parents, toddlers don’t know the difference between good and bad exploration, and that can result in tragedy. If you haven’t already childproofed your home, now is the time to make sure you don’t have any obvious hazards hanging around. Here are five tips you can take to childproof your toddler’s bedroom.
1. Attach furniture to the wall
Children explore. They do it by nature - the world is brand new! But exploring often includes climbing, and about 26 children die annually because of furniture falling on top of them, and thousands more get injured. Furniture is unbelievably heavy, but a climbing 25-pound child can very easily tip over a large dresser and bookcase in their quest to reach the highest summits. Children aren’t strong enough to lift heavy furniture themselves, which means when a piece of furniture falls on your child they probably will be left trapped until you help them.
You can prevent this tragedy from occurring by fixing your furniture to the walls. Use furniture wall straps or a wall anchor to attach furniture to the wall, preventing it from tipping over when tugged on. It will prevent you from rearranging the room as you wish, but it will also save you from worrying about your child’s desire to clamber up shelves turning fatal.
2. Make sure wiring is out of reach
Wires are absolutely everywhere in your house. They’re powering your lamps and fans, your phones, your kitchen appliances, your television and computer, your lighting systems - wires are ubiquitous. But they also serve as potential threats to your child’s safety. Your daughter may try to tug on a wire, bite or chew on it, or trip over it while walking if it’s left out on the floor. If you have plugs and sockets visible, chances are your daughter will try to look at it and may try to play with it. Use wire guards and try to cover plugs with furniture and heavy objects. Use a safe plate for plugs not in use, and minimize the number of wires in your child’s bedroom to reduce the amount of mischief she can get into on her own.
3. Use safety gates throughout your house
If you’re worried about your son trying to climb down a long set of stairs by herself, put a safety gate at the mouth of the stairwell. If the thought of your son wandering into the kitchen alone and playing with knives keeps you up at night, get another for the kitchen. Is your basement going to be childproofed? Probably not. Get another safety guard for that too. Until your child is old enough to open the safety gate hinge himself, keep them around to barricade parts of the house that haven’t been childproofed. Monitor your child around these gates - as soon as they figure out how the mechanism works they’re no good for keeping him out.
4. Keep the cot safe, keep the bed low
When your little one is still sleeping in a cot, it’s important to make sure that he won’t accidentally get caught in the railing or strangle himself with cords and ropes. Keep toys to a minimum and don’t give your child a blanket until he’s at least a year old. Never use a pillow in a cot. Once your child transitions to a bed, however, you will still need to ensure he doesn’t accidentally hurt himself in his sleep. If your child has a habit of rolling over in his sleep, he may roll off the bed - invest in bedrails, make sure his bed is low to the ground and try putting something soft under his bed, like rugs or a pile of blankets, so he has a soft landing if he does fall.
5. Look at your window blinds
Windows pose a major safety risk, and all windows in your child’s room should be childproofed carefully. If your window blinds are pulled by a string that dangles at the bottom of the window, switch it out. Children can easily become tangled in the ropes, which are a choking hazard. Use a cord shortener, or a wind-up cord that doesn’t hang down, instead. You should also take steps to ensure your window is locked. Use a window wedge or a charlie bar to prevent your window from sliding open. If your window pane isn’t particularly strong, you should also consider lining it with window film to prevent it from shattering in the event that your child accidentally throws something at it. The film will prevent glass shards from falling into the room.
You will never be able to protect your child from every hazard that exists in the world. Children are both ingenuitive and determined, which means if she wants to get in trouble, she will. But you can take concrete steps to reduce obvious hazards and risks, so that the trouble your child can get into is limited to tripping over things and jumping on furniture. Take a good look around your house and make sure you didn’t miss anything obvious. Lock the rooms you don’t want your child in at all, and teach your child basic safety rules as soon as you can.