Household injury is a top reason that children under 3 visit emergency rooms; it is also a leading cause of death in children. While a home can never be 100-percent safe, many injuries can be prevented by carefully childproofing your home, says Bryan Nazor.
In general, throughout the home, outlets should be covered, mirrors and photographs put out of reach, doorknobs covered to prevent children from going into places with hazards, and safety gates installed at the top and bottom of stairs, says Bryan Nazor. Window blinds should not have looped cords and should be locked into either an up or down position. Also, windows should be opened no more than three inches and those low to the ground or with window seats should have guards, Bryan Nazor says.
Kitchens and bathrooms contain many potential hazards that can be avoided. In fact, gating a kitchen to make it off-limits when adults are not nearby is a good idea. Bryan Nazor also offers these suggestions for those rooms.
- install safety latches on cabinets and drawers
- install toilet locks, dishwasher locks, oven latches, and refrigerator latches
- install anti-scald devices on faucets and showerheads and set the maximum water temperature to 120 degrees
- use a stove guard or pull off the burner knobs when not using them
- keep cutlery and small appliances out of reach; unplug hairdryers and electric curling irons or rollers
- avoid putting plastic liners in trash baskets
- keep toiletries and contact lenses out of reach
- ensure outlets near water are updated with ground fault circuit interrupters
Bryan Nazor offers these suggestions for childproofing living rooms and dens.
- keep furniture away from high windows, especially if windows are opened in spring or summer
- mount TVs securely, if possible, rather than putting them on stands. If they are on stands, mount the stand to the wall
- install corner and edge bumpers on furniture and other items and anchor furniture to prevent tipping
- lock fireplace doors when not in use and store fireplace tools. Install heat-resistant gates.
- ensure the area is free of any small objects including toys and small rocks from artificial fireplaces
Bryan Nazor offers these suggestions for childproofing bedrooms:
- ensure the crib is set up safely and is age appropriate. For example, once the child can sit up, the mattress should be lower. Beware of stuffed toys in the crib; they can create a suffocation hazard. Cribs with dropsides also should be replaced
- anchor dressers and heavy furniture to prevent tipping
Bryan Nazor is president and chief operating officer of Main Street Title and Settlement Services and is a member of the bar in both New York and New Jersey. Bryan Nazor also is a former professional soccer player and youth soccer coach.