According to the latest statistics by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children between 1 to 4 years of age have the highest rates of nonfatal injuries. Accidental falls, being struck by or against an object, insect bites, animal bites, accidental drowning, and accidental choking and poisoning are some of the main reasons for injuries. (1) The statistics of fatal injuries are very scary, so we have chosen not to mention them. As a new parent, the thought of your child’s injury may become very overwhelming but, you have to understand that you mischievous little fellow is not going to sit quietly. He is going to explore the world around him and, during his adventurous journey, he will get hurt. While some falls are OK, many others can be really dangerous. It is the family’s responsibility to make his home a safe haven for him so that he can learn about the world around him without getting hurt.
Most new parents are clueless about how to babyproof their homes. So, they often seek the advice of their elders. Although our parents are the best when it comes to babyproofing, they are very often not aware of the latest tools that are available to protect your baby from falls and injuries. Baby gates are one such product. These gates are designed to prevent your child from accessing the restricted areas such as the stairs. You can easily install them anywhere and remove them when required. In this blog, we will share with you a baby proofing checklist that is designed for new parents who are willing to use a mix of both conventional and modern approach for protecting their mischievous family member from potential dangers. So, let’s begin.
Tips for preventing choking hazards
Choking is very common among kids. The crawling toddler can pick up anything around him and put it in his mouth. So, it is very important to keep small items away from his reach. Here are a few things that you should do:
- Keep latex balloons out of your child’s reach. Prefer not using them at all or if you have used them for decorating the premises, make sure you immediately throw away all unwanted, blown-up pieces. Inflated balloons are not risky but the blowup and deflated balloons can choke your child. Colorful balloons attract kids a lot and your child is more likely going to crawl around looking for those tiny pieces. Instead of latex balloons, you can opt for paper decors.
- Coins, buttons, dice, batteries, erasers, paper clips, broken crayons, and pen caps are other risky things that should be kept far away from toddlers. Keep them safely in a box on your dining table or inside a drawer.
- Buy sturdy and solid toys that do not have any small detachable parts. Toys that break quickly can harm your child. Moreover, your child may accidentally swallow the broken parts.
- Regularly examine the toys and throw away the broken ones immediately.
- If he has an older sibling, keep his toys in a separate box away from the younger ones. Legos, puzzles, car parts, doll clothes, etc. are risky objects for toddlers.
- Throw away small balls, marbles, small decorative pieces, pebbles, etc.
- Keeps nuts, bolts, and all other small repair parts far away from your child’s reach.
- Keep your jewelry away from your child’s reach. You never know when he could just pick your ring or earring and put it in his mouth.
- Do not keep hard food within the reach of your baby. Nuts, popcorn, seeds, candies, peanut butter, marshmallows, chewing gum, uncooked peas, grapes, raw apples, etc. are high-risk food products. Do not introduce them to your kids until they turn three or unless your pediatrician advises you.
Tips for preventing trips and falls
Preventing falls requires constant supervision. Here are a few things that you can do to minimize the injuries that your child may suffer due to falls and trips:
- Install baby gates at all the areas of your house that you don’t want your child to access. Staircases, basement doors, bathroom, kitchen, and outdoors are some of the areas where you don’t want your child to be alone. Staircases are the riskiest places because a fall from them could cause severe injuries and even death. This is where baby gates can help. They are available in various sizes and designs. Some of them are permanent fixtures, whereas others are pressure mounted and you can install and remove them as and when required. Some advanced baby gates also come with an alarm feature that alerts the parents when the child tries to access it. By installing them at required areas, you will be able to prevent your child from accessing dangerous spots when you are busy doing your household work. Although these baby safety gates are widely sold on Amazon and other online stores, you should be cautious while buying just any of them. Not all of them are certified by the Juveniles Product Manufacturing Association (JPMA) or American Society for Testing. These two certification organizations are responsible for passing only those products that are safe and secure. If you are looking for some of the best baby gates of your child, here is the blog that you can refer this blog post about 10 best baby gates for indoor and outdoor use. It features some of the best-rated products, so you don’t have to spend your time reviewing hundreds of products.
- Don’t leave your kids unattended on a balcony or porch. Even if there are railings, install baby gates to prevent your child from going there.
- Install safety rails on beds.
- Do not encourage your child to use bunk bed until he is 6 years old.
- Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to prevent the floor from becoming slippery.
- Secure TV and furniture with the wall using mount bracket, braces, anchors, and wall straps to prevent your child from pulling them down on himself.
- Create a play area for your child using shock-absorbing mats. Cordon this area using child safety gates and let him enjoy there for some time while you are busy doing your work. Even if your child falls there, he will land on a cushioned surface and won’t get injured.
- When using high chairs, baby swings, and lightweight stroller for travel, keep your baby strapped.
- As soon as your child starts crawling, move chairs, cribs, and other furniture away from windows to prevent window falls.
Tips for preventing electrical hazards
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, young children, especially toddlers experience electrical injuries when they bite into electrical cords or poke object into unprotected outlets for appliances. Christmas trees and their lights are well known seasonal hazards for kids. (2) Here is what you can do to prevent any unwanted electrical hazard:
- Avoid using extension cords as much as possible. Kids open fancy them and may pull or chew the wires.
- Cover all your electrical outlets with caps/covers so that your child cannot stick anything into them.
- Use floor light in your kid’s bedroom and bathroom so that he doesn’t feel the need of switching on and off the lights.
- To prevent electrocution, examine the cords regularly to look for signs of cuts and damages.
- If your house hasn’t been inspected for electrical safety for a few years, call an electrician and ask him to thoroughly evaluate your home to ensure that your child remains safe.
- Hide the electrical codes behind the furniture.
- Keep your toaster, hair dryer, and other appliances unplugged when not in use.
Tips for preventing accidental injuries
- Never leave tripping hazards on the floor or stairs.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Never leave young children in the bathroom alone.
- Keep medicines and chemicals out of the reach of children.
- Keep plastic bags, plastic wrapping sheets, etc. away from kids as they can cause suffocation.
- Kids should be kept out of the kitchen to avoid any unwanted accident. If you have a door in the kitchen, always keep it close when you are not there. If you have an open kitchen, install a baby gate to restrict your child’s entry.
- Avoid using tablecloths as kids tend to pull them upon themselves. If there is any hot object or sharp object on the tablecloth it may fall over him and injure your child.
- Don’t hold your baby while carrying hot liquid or object.
- Install stove guards to prevent your child from pulling the pans.
- Block access to floor heaters or hot radiators using baby gates.
- Attach edge guards to all the edges and corners of your furniture.
- Use door stoppers to protect your child’s fingers.
We hope we have provided you all the important do’s and don’t that will help you keep your baby safe. If you are a first-time parent, you may opt for a professional infant first-aid course, which will help you take appropriate care of your baby during critical situations. You may also opt for baby proofing courses or watch the numerous baby proofing videos available on the internet. Don’t forget to check out the blog about the best baby gates that we have shared with you above. They are extremely helpful for restricting your child from entering risky zones.
References and Citations:
- Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventable. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/child_injury_data.html. Published December 23, 2015.
- Electric Shock Injuries in Children. HealthyChildren.org. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/Electric-Shock.aspx.