Child-Proofing Tips to Protect Your Kids in Home Danger Zones

Think Like a Kid: In a world made by the point-of-view of grown-ups, there are inadvertent hazards to small children all over the place. Home is no exception. According to Safe Kids USA (an organization that educates parents, policy makers, and the general public in creating safe environments for children) a child dies every 101 minutes as a result of an unintentional injury, making it the leading cause of accidental death and permanent disability for America's kids.
Best we try, we can't have both eyes fixed on little busy bodies all the time, but there are things that can be done reduce risk throughout the home. Familiarize yourself with what is dangerous in these 4 rooms and the upgrades you can make to keep things safe. -Tabitha Sukhai

See ALL of our child safety tips at thisoldhouse.com


1. Room: Kitchen and Dining Area

Why it is dangerous: Respondents to the Home Safety Council's (HSC) Safe Haven research named the kitchen the most dangerous room of the house, possibly because it's also one of the busiest.

• "Hot liquids and food are always being shuttled between the sink, fridge, and stovetop or oven, and neighboring surfaces," says Alison Rhodes of safetymom.com, Evenflo's resident expert on child safety. "You'll want to keep this area off limits while cooking." Gate off the danger zone, if possible, or strap kids into their high chairs. The HSC suggests marking a three-foot safety margin around the stove with tape so older kids know it's off limits.

• Make it a habit to use back burners and turn pot handles in when cooking.

MORE: See three other child safety tips for the kitchen!


2. Room: Bathroom

Why it is dangerous: Respondents of the Home Safety Council's Safe Haven research named the bathroom a close second to kitchens as an at-home danger zone. Still, 64 percent of respondents report they haven't made any safety upgrades.

• According to The American Burn Association, more than 21,000 kids are treated yearly for scalds. Make sure your water heater temperature is set to a maximum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. As an added precaution, or if you live in an apartment where you cannot adjust the water heater, add an easy-install scald guard to spouts and showerheads to block water flow above a preset temperature.

• Keep mouthwash, medicines, and cleaners or chemicals stores in cabinets with child locks or latches. If anyone in your home has to use syringes or lancets for medical reasons, be sure they're disposing of them properly. Get proper disposal solutions (i.e. MedWaste containers) from your waste management company.

MORE: See two other important bathroom child safety tips!


3. Room: Living Area

Why it is dangerous: "There's been a 47 percent increase of furniture toppling with flat screen TVs now in more homes," says Alison Rhodes of safetymom.com. "Pick up some heavy-duty Velcro to add stability to sleek television sets, vases and other things in storage units." Here are some more things you can do to child-proof living and play areas.

• Prevent furniture tip-overs by keeping entertainment and shelving units bottom-heavy. Pack heavy articles in bottom compartments and lighter ones at the top. Also, discourage climbing by not putting anything a kid might want to get to at the top of wall units. Secure furniture to walls with straps or L-brackets, if possible.

• The National Safety Council warns that radiators, spaceheaters, and heating vents are not always hot. Children can get a false sense of safety after touching a radiator when it's off, and a big ouchie from the same radiator when it's on. Adding a radiator cover is a DIY solution that can lower severe burn risk.

MORE: See three additional living area child safety tips!


4. Room: Bedroom and Nursery

Why it is dangerous: Little ones probably get into the least trouble when they're sleeping, but you've still got to take a few precautionary measures. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, these practices can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), prevent suffocation, and more.

• Bedroom windows are hot spots for accidental falls. Keep furniture away from windows-especially dressers and chests with drawers, which kids can open and climb.

MORE: See three additional bedroom and nursery child safety tips!


CHECK OUT OTHER DANGER ZONES IN YOUR HOME, AND WAYS TO MAKE THEM SAFER AT THISOLDHOUSE.COM!
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