You're prepared to do anything to keep your offspring safe, but is your house kid-friendly? Use this guide to childproofing your home and rest easy.
In the Bedroom
- Check the crib. Make sure that your crib meets today's safety standards (see the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's website, cpsc.gov, for tips). Pull cords away from the crib, and keep the crib away from windows, if possible.
- Install window guards. But remember: While window guards provide reassurance, they are not a subtitute for parental supervision.
In the Bathroom
- Install safety latches and locks. Put safety guards on toilets to make sure that children can't get in them, and on any cabinet or drawer that contains medicine or any other hazardous items.
- Have a plumber install an anti-scald device for the faucets and showerhead. Regulate the water temperature to help prevent burns.
See Real Simple's Last-Minute Survival Guide for Parents
In the Kitchen
- Lock stove knobs. Keep kids from igniting stove burners by using protective appliance knob covers.
- Install a safety cover on the garbage disposal. A cover will safeguard little hands.
- Attach safety latches and locks. Secure any drawers containing knives, scissors, and sharp utensils, and keep kids out of any cabinets that contain household cleaners.
See Real Simple's Guide to Safely Storing Your Cleaning Supplies
Throughout the House
- Cut window-blind cords. Or use safety tassels and inner cord stops so that children can't get entangled.
- Place covers over unused outlets. Sliding covers are the best, as the push-in ones can be pulled out and possibly choked on.
- Put up safety gates. Install hardware-mounted safety gates in front of any stairs in the house.
- Install corner and edge bumpers. These will help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges.
- Use doorstops and door holders. Keep small fingers from being crushed or pinched in doors and door hinges.
- Switch to cordless phones, if you haven't already. Children can get tangled in phone cord. Plus, keeping an eye on your young ones is easier, since you can move around the house (or even outside) freely.
- Make a kid-free zone. Banish little ones from the grilling area, as well as any structure or shed that might contain tools, lawn mowers, etc.
- Childproof the pool. Install a five-foot-high fence around its perimeter. Make sure that the gate to the pool has a lock that prevents children from entering alone but can be opened quickly by an adult in case of an emergency. And don't let water accumulate on the top of the pool cover-that's a drowning hazard.