Following Mike Tyson’s tragic loss of his four-year-old daughter, Exodus, I am sure parents are thinking about potential household hazards and ways to prevent similar tragedies from happening. I know living in cramped city apartments many of us don’t have room for treadmills or much else, but let us not overlook this tragic event as though it can’t happen to our own children. Let’s face it – our homes and our world pose so many dangers, many that we are unaware of, but also many that we can prevent. Accidents such as the one that claimed the life of Exodus happen in the blink of an eye, and oftentimes as parents we can take for granted the dangers of out-of-sight independent play. Whether you have a newborn, infant, or busy toddler, here are few some tips to help childproof your home from some known dangers.
Keep it closed, or lock it up.
- Protect your child from many potential hazards (cleaning products, medicines, slips and falls, among other things) by closing and/or locking all doors in the house to keep the curious one from wandering off into unsupervised areas. Also, I’ve found safety gates to be helpful in blocking off certain areas like the kitchen.
- Keep wires, plastic bags, and chemicals out of reach.
- Make sure that electrical wires and outlets are out of your little one’s reach, and invest in plastic wall covers for outlets that are not in use.
- Plastic bags, household cleaning supplies, medicines, alcohol and other poisons should be stored in either a high cabinet or a storage bin with a child safety lock or latch. If you have a poisoning emergency call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for assistance available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- For window cords, the best solution is to attach the cord to the wall or buy blinds that have wands instead of string cords
Think like a baby, act like a safe parent
- Get down on your hands and knees and look for anything that may catch your child’s attention. Look for any potential harmful or breakable items and move them up to higher surfaces. Also, pick up small items such as coins, buttons, coins, jewelry and small objects.
- Move any item that is within arm’s reach from your child’s crib and high chair.
- If you live in a house or have stairs in your apartment, put a gate at the top and bottom of the staircase. Kids are extremely fast, and all it takes is a few moments before they make their way to the stairs. Gates can be a great way to protect your child, and the Consumer Report recommends gates that require screws for installation (often called hardware mounted or permanent gate) as the best gates for use at the top of stairways. For more information on choosing the best safety gate, click here.
- Make sure to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and replace them if necessary. Test each smoke alarm every month. Push the test button until you hear a loud noise.
- Before bed, make sure your child takes off any dress-up items (necklaces, purses, scarves, capes) before he/she goes to sleep.
For more information on childproofing your home, check out the Consumer Report website.
I know as parents our minds are filled with so much, but creating these safeguards around the house can help protect your child from potential dangers. As a friend of mine always says, Be mindful – even if your mind is full.
To see some home safety item examples, check out the gallery below.