Think Like a Toddler: 12 Babyproofing Steps You May Have Missed

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by: Lindsay Hutton
Outlets, stairs, and cleaners are no-brainers when it comes to babyproofing your home, but what about the not-so-obvious dangers in your household? This list highlights everyday items that can become threats to your child, and tips to keep your baby safe. For more tips, check out these essential babyproofing steps.
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Windows and Screens
Do not place any furniture your child can climb on near windows, and install guards on windows to prevent it from opening more than a couple of inches. If a window needs to be opened for ventilation purposes, open it from the top. Window guards or a safety gate can also keep your child from falling through a screen or out an open window.

To prevent your child from getting cut from a broken window, apply transparent safety film to your window panes. It won't keep the glass from breaking, but it will keep it from shattering into jagged shards.

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Plastic Bags
Plastic dry-cleaning bags and grocery bags can easily suffocate a small child if he gets one over his mouth or chews on one. Throw dry-cleaning bags into the trash immediately, and make sure the trash is somewhere your child can not get into. If you save your plastic grocery bags, store them in a closet with a child-proof latch or somewhere out of reach of your little one.
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Bathroom Toilets
Bathtubs may be the first thing that comes to mind when babyproofing your bathroom, but don't forget the toilet. It takes very little water for a child to drown, and a toilet is the perfect height for a little one to pull himself up into standing position. Children can also fall in if they are reaching for a toy or object they may have dropped in there.

Don't leave your child unsupervised in the bathroom, even for just a short amount of time. Also, installing a toilet lock that automatically locks the lid when it is down will help prevent your child from pulling the lid up and falling in.

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Toiletries
Shampoo, conditioner, and other hygiene products can all be dangerous if consumed in large amounts. While babyproofing your household cleaners, include toiletries in that category. Make sure all personal hygiene products, makeup, lotions, creams, and deodorant are locked up and out of reach from your curious toddler.
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Ovens
You may know you need to keep the kids away from the oven, but don't forget these extra safety measures. Install knob covers or remove the knobs completely to keep your child from turning on any burners, especially if you have a gas stove. Install a latch on the oven door to keep it from being opened and a splash guard to protect your child from any hot splatters. Finally, always turn pot handles inward when cooking to keep your child from reaching up and pulling any pots or pans down on top of him.
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Antiques
Antiques may have lead paint, which can be hazardous to your baby if he ingests any paint chips. If you have any antiques that have lead paint, or any other suspicious old objects, remove them from your home or move them to a room your baby does not go in.
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Household Plants
Many plants are poisonous and can cause illness or death if ingested. Potting soil also poses a choking hazard to young children. Be aware of all the plants you have in your home and whether or not they are poisonous. Keep all poisonous plants out of reach of children or outside of your home completely, and stay away from using rocks or other small objects in your potting soil.
HomeFurnace
Your Basement
If your basement is unfinished, the exposed insulation can be harmful if swallowed. And since most people don't think to babyproof a basement, the exposed pipes and wires can be very dangerous as well. Basements also often harbor mold and other air-polluting toxins.

Limit the time your baby spends in any unfinished basements, and always make sure he is supervised when in one. Finally, outfit your basement door with a child-proof lock to keep him from opening it and tumbling down the basement stairs.

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Trunks and Toy Chests
Hinged lids of trunks and toy chests can fall on your child, causing injury to his head or neck or trapping him inside. If you have a trunk or toy chest like this, the safest thing to do is remove the lid.

If you do not want to remove the lid, a lid support can keep it open in any position you like (heavier lids might require two supports). Also consider drilling ventilation holes into any trunk in case your child falls inside and becomes trapped - this will help to keep him from suffocating.

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Doorknobs
Whether they lead outside or down the basement stairs, doors can open to areas your child shouldn't be. Cover all doorknobs you do not want your child opening with doorknob covers. Plastic door-stops can also prevent doors from opening. Finger protectors can be installed to keep your child from getting his fingers pinched as well.
Dresser
Bookcases, Dressers, and Other Climbable Furniture
Top-heavy furniture can fall on top of your child if he climbs or hangs from it, and can trap or crush him. Use furniture straps or anchors to secure any climbable furniture to the wall or the floor.
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Ongoing Childproofing
Childproofing your home isn't just a one-time chore. As your child gets older, more hazards may present themselves. When your child grows taller, he may bang his head on sharp corners or edges that are higher up, and you will need to do a second pass to secure any objects that used to be out of your child's reach.

Another tip is to get down to your baby's level. Being on your hands and knees can give you a new perspective and can help you babyproof an area of your home you missed earlier. And always remember, supervision is the best way to keep your child safe.