Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Childproofing Your Home
One of the most important steps you can take to protect the
health and life of your child is to "childproof" your home.
Perhaps the best way to do this is to take a "baby's eye
view"; crawling from room to room will help you spot the
sharp corners, uncovered electrical wall outlets and
extension cords, hanging cords to lamps and other
appliances, and loose objects which might easily fall.
The following is a quick checklist for childproofing each
room in your house. Remember, however, that every child and
home are different. Check your home carefully. AND NEVER
LEAVE YOUR BABY UNATTENDED!
CHILDPROOFING BABY'S ROOM
- Hang mobiles and dangling toys out of reach so that baby
can't strangle on the string. The string should be no
more than 12 inches long.
- Diaper pails can be dangerous to curious babies: many
have drowned in the soaking pails. Keep the cover on
- The various baby powders and talcs can be dangerous.
Never use them near a fan or allow the baby to play with
the container--he could choke on the dust.
- Do not put plants in baby's room if there is any chance
baby could reach them. (For more information on
poisonous house plants, click . )
- Store ointments, creams, safety pins and all other baby
paraphernalia out of reach.
CHILDPROOFING THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is one of the more hazardous areas of the house,
especially when you are cooking.
- Turn handles of all pots and pans to the back of the
stove so that the baby can't reach them. (The best way
to avoid accidents is to keep your baby in his playpen
or high chair while you cook).
- Avoid using tablecloths that can be pulled down.
- Keep all appliances and their cords away from the edges
of counters or table tops. All cords should be coiled
up and tied.
- Place safety latches on kitchen cupboards. If you have
room, you can let your baby have one cupboard of his own
filled with pots, pans, and large plastic bowls.
- Cleaning products and all other toxic substances should
be stored in a high cupboard with a lock or safety
latch. You can begin to teach a 1-year-old the dangers
of toxic substances by using MR. YUK stickers. For
information on obtaining these stickers write the
Institute of Education Communications, Children's
Hospital of Pittsburgh, Desoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA
15213. Note: Some groups have expressed concern that
children not get dependent on the MR. YUK stickers
because it is impossible to put them on every toxic
substance a child might find. Many parents take both
approaches: they teach their child NOT to play with any
bottles in cupboards and also use MR. YUK stickers.
- Keep knives and all cutlery in a drawer or cupboard out
of your baby's reach.
- Try to keep bits of food off the floor, especially food
that your baby could choke on.
- If you drop a glass on the floor and it breaks, protect
your crawling baby's hands and knees by first vacuuming
and then using a wet paper towel to get any remaining
- Whenever you are handling hot liquids, check to see
where your baby is BEFORE you pick up the tea kettle or
pan. You do not want to trip and spill boiling water on
- Teach baby from the very beginning that the stove is off
limits whether it is off or on.
- Jagged edges on boxes of aluminum foil or plastic wrap
can cause cuts; keep them out of reach.
CHILDPROOFING THE LIVING ROOM
- Plan on putting away all delicate, breakable, and
valuable items from tables and shelves until your baby
is well past the curious/destructive stage (4 to 5 years
- Check the floor area daily for small objects that baby
could choke on: pins, small bits of food such as
popcorn, peanuts, etc.
- Tables with sharp corners and edges can be protected
with rubber corner guards.
- Bookcases are great attractions for young babies. Make
sure they are fastened to the wall so your baby can't
pull a bookcase over on top of himself.
- Cover unused electrical outlets with plastic caps. You
can also obtain boxes that will cover outlets that are
being used. Where possible, place furniture in front of
- Never leave extension cords plugged in where your baby
can find and chew on them and be seriously burned or
shocked. Tape any excess cord down so baby won't be so
- Heaters, whether electric space heaters or wood stoves,
can present serious hazards to a young baby. Make sure
heaters are well ventilated and are protected by safety
- Telephones are fascinating to curious babies--make sure
the cords are out of reach, so that the baby doesn't
pull the phone down on his head. If you put the phone
on the floor, try putting a wide rubber band over the
switch hook points so the phone line is not on when the
receiver is lifted. You can still receive calls while
the baby plays, but you won't have any unexpected
long-distance phone bills.
CHILDPROOFING THE BATHROOM
The bathroom is especially dangerous because it usually
contains medicines, drugs, and other potential poisons.
- Keep all medicines and drugs in a locked cabinet out of
your baby's reach. Aspirin is one of the most common
causes of childhood poisoning. Be careful to return all
drugs to the cabinet after you use them.
- Shampoo and soap should also be kept out of baby's
- Hairdryers should always be kept unplugged to avoid
electric shock if they should be pulled or dropped into
- To avoid burns, lower the thermostat on your hot water
heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees C).
Always check water temperature before putting your baby
into the bath water or under a faucet.
- Your baby will find the wastebasket full of interesting
things. Be aware of what you throw away and put pills,
razor blades, etc. in a special wastebasket that is out
of baby's reach.
- Babies have drowned in toilet bowls--always leave the
lid down. High rubber stops on the lids will prevent
his fingers from getting caught if he should happen to
lift and then drop the lid.
- A hook on the outside of the bathroom door or a plastic
door knob cover may be necessary to keep the door closed
and the baby out of the bathroom.
- Use plastic or paper cups and containers in the bathroom
so there is less chance of broken glass.