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Home » Interiors-designing » Child-proof-061108
Child proof your home

Parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children from everything - from strangers to stray dogs - but many overlook one of the biggest threats to their children's safety and well-being: their own home. Experts say that children, ages 1 to 4, are more likely to be injured by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by a stranger.


Here are some other tips for a safer home:
  • Safety PlugsPut safety plugs in all unused electrical outlets, or place large pieces of furniture in front of them to prevent your child from sticking her finger or a toy into the holes. Use outlet covers and outlet plates to protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution, and be sure that your child can't easily remove the outlet protector.
  • Attach cushioned corner-and-edge bumpers to the sharp corners of furniture like coffee tables and desks. You can also use them on fireplace hearths to soften falls against a hard brick or metal edge.
  • Consider the potential hazard of anything you drop into the garbage. If you discard batteries, paper clips, plastic bags, or other dangerous items, your trash should have a child-resistant cover.
  • Install smoke detectors in every level of your house and near the bedroom and kitchen. Check once a month to be sure they're working, and change the batteries annually. A working smoke detector cuts the chances of dying in a fire to half, according to the Children's National Medical Centre.
  • Carbon monoxide detectorInstall a carbon monoxide detector outside your bedrooms, particularly if you use gas or oil heat and have an attached garage. If possible, find one that plugs into an electrical outlet and shows you the level of carbon monoxide at any given time. If you have a two-story house, put one on each floor.
  • Avoid drapes and blinds with cords; dangling cords are a strangulation hazard. If you must have them, cut the cord loop and tie up cords with window cleats.
  • Place colourful stickers on large areas of glass, such as sliding glass doors, to prevent them from "disappearing." Always open casement windows from the top, and fit them with locks so small children can't open them. Low windows shouldn't open more than 5 inches; keep furniture and other climbing structures away from them. Use window guards and safety netting for balconies, windows, decks, and landings.
  • Make sure area rugs have non-slip backs or put non-slip pads underneath as this will help prevent falls.
  • Safety GatesUse safety gates and door gates. Every year, an estimated 3 million children are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Choose a gate that has a straight top edge and a rigid mesh screen to keep your child out of rooms that are off-limits. Put a safety gate at the top of the stairs and another three steps from the bottom to keep toddlers out of harm's way. If you have an older safety gate, make sure it doesn't have a "V" shape, large enough for a child's head and neck to fit through. Since childproofing is an ongoing process, the gate you put at the top of the stairs for your 1-year-old may become her favorite climbing structure when she's 2.
  • Hide lamp and appliance cords behind heavy furniture, or conceal them with a special hide-a-cord device. Tall, potentially tippy lamps should be secured behind furniture.
  • Use a cordless phone so that you can continually keep an eye on your young children, especially if they're in the tub, a swimming pool, or other dangerous areas.
  • Use door stops to help prevent your child from getting her fingers mashed in the door hinges, and install door locks to keep her out of the swimming pool or rooms with potential dangers.
  • Put a lock on the toilet to prevent accidental drowning; toddlers can drown in a few inches of water.
Even if your house is adequately child proofed, you still need to practice safe habits. Cook on the back burners of your stove, and turn all pot handles away from the edge of the stove so your child can't pull them over and burn himself. Remember that hot objects, especially curling irons, tend to remain dangerously hot for quite some time after being unplugged. And never leave a young child alone in the bathroom, especially the tub, while you answer the phone. Again, the best childproofing of all is supervision.

Rupila Sethi
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