Every grandparent wants their grandchildren to be safe and happy. A few simple precautions can help you make your home a safe environment for your grandkids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the leading causes of nonfatal injuries for children under the age of nine are falls, strikes from or against hard objects, animal bites and bee stings. The data also found that drowning was the leading cause of fatal accidents for toddlers 1-4 years old.
While it’s unpleasant to think about accidents occurring while your grandchildren are visiting or living in your home, this data shows how important it is to childproof your home. While the toddler years are full of excitement and new discoveries, the curiosity and energy exploding from those little bodies can lead to trouble if every room of your home isn’t cleansed of danger ahead of time.
Childproofing Playrooms and Bedrooms
Make sure the toddler’s bed is placed so that there is no gap between the frame and wall where small arms and legs can get trapped. You may want to move the bed away from the window to avoid giving easy access.
If dressers or other pieces of furniture wobble even slightly, secure them to the wall with safety straps. Add plastic locks to all drawers because toddlers will pull them out and use them as steps to reach items placed on top of furniture.
Screen all toys that enter the playroom and bedroom, eliminating small pieces that may present a choking hazard as well as pieces with sharp edges. Even stuffed animals are sometimes dangerous if they have attached tags or loose eye and nose pieces that a toddler can pull off, so look closely at every toy.
Childproofing Open Living Spaces
Toddlers love to speed through the living room, dining room and sitting room on their way to something interesting. Make sure rugs are not placed where they can trip those little feet, and check the furniture for tipping hazards as you did in the bedroom and playroom. Check every item of furniture for sharp edges that can become weapons against children when they fall or run by. Corner guards are inexpensive and worth the investment.
Childproofing the Bathroom
Use plastic locks to hold the toilet seat down. While you may use a stepstool to help your grandchildren reach the sink to brush their teeth and hair, keep the stool hidden when you don’t want them reaching the sink. To eliminate the risk of burns during bath time, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
General Toddler-Proofing Tips
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the use of the following safety products throughout the home:
- Safety gates to block stairways
- Door knob covers and locks
- Electrical outlet covers or plugs
- Protective barriers around pools and spas
The commission also recommends changing your window coverings if they have long cords. Toddlers can suffer loss of circulation if they wind the cord around their arms or legs too tight, and strangulation is a risk if the cord is wrapped around small necks. You should use the same caution with wires hanging from televisions. There are ways to conceal wires so that they remain out of a toddler’s reach.
A little time and attention to the safety issues in your home will help keep your visiting grandchildren safe.