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Child Safety

Child Safety Basics for Your Home

By

Updated May 16, 2014

Accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Most of these deaths could easily be prevented, so it is therefore important to keep your child's safety in mind at all times.

From the proper use of a car seat to putting baby gates on stairs, parents should prepare their homes to keep their kids as safe as possible. Remember that the more chances you take, the more likely your child is to be injured or killed by an accident.

Baby Proofing

Although some people consider baby proofing and childproofing to be the same thing, you can think of baby proofing as all of the things that you do even before you bring home your new baby.

These would include things like:

Childproofing

If baby proofing involves all of the safety measures that you take before your bring home your baby, then childproofing includes all that you want to do before you baby gets mobile.

Most of these things should be done as early as possible and by the time your infant is five or six months old. That way, you can be sure your baby is safe before he starts crawling and walking.

Childproofing measures includes things like:

  • Installing baby gates at the top and bottom of all stairs in the house.
  • Installing window gates, hearth gates, and other gates in rooms that you don't want your child to have easy access to.
  • Putting door knob covers on doors that you don't want your child to open, including the bathroom, rooms that aren't childproofed, and doors that would allow your child to leave the house.
  • Placing latches and locks on cabinets and drawers.
  • Installing a stove guard in front of the stove to keep your child's hands off the burners.
  • Securing appliances, including the refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven, with an appliance locking strap.
  • Installing covers on electrical outlets.
  • Cutting window blind cords, or using safety tassels and inner cord stops to help prevent your child from strangling in window blind cord loops.
  • Securing furniture and large appliances to the wall, so that your kids can't tip them over.
  • Checking the floor regularly for small items and toys that younger children can choke on. This includes marbles, balls, uninflated or broken balloons, small magnets, and small toy pieces.
  • Keeping all of the top household poisons out of your child's reach and in a childproofed cabinet.
  • Storing guns properly, which can include storing the gun unloaded in a locked cabinet or drawer, with the bullets locked separately.
  • Childproofing your pool so that it is enclosed by a permanent fence (which is better than a removable pool fence) with a self-closing and self-latching gate that is difficult for younger children to open. Also make sure that your child can't easily get out of your house to the pool area. That way, you have "layers of protection;" if one safety layer breaks down, such as someone leaves the gate to the pool open, your child still can't get out to the pool.
  • Creating a family home fire escape plan.

Car Seats

Besides a smoke detector for your home, a car seat is likely one of the most important child safety baby products you can buy. Learn how to choose the right car seat for your child and whether you need an infant carrier, regular car seat, or a booster seat.

Also determine where your kids should ride in the car, and when you can move them to regular seatbelts.

Hidden Dangers

Since accidents are the leading cause of death for children, it is not surprising that pediatricians often focus so much on educating parents about childproofing, the proper use of car seats, and encouraging kids to use helmets.

Many parents are unaware, however, of less common dangers that don't get as much publicity as drownings, car accidents, or house fires.

Learning about these other hazards can help you take simple steps to keep your kids safe.

Safety Q&A

Have questions about your child's safety? Don't hesitate to ask your pediatrician.

Some common questions that parents have about child safety include:

Safety Quizzes

Have you learned everything you need to know about child safety to keep your kids safe?

Test your knowledge of child safety with our child safety quizzes:

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