Home may be where the heart is, but it’s also where steep stairs, fragile glass, sharp objects, scalding water and dangerous toxins lurk. An adult knows how to avoid such hazards. A baby or small child, however, is oblivious to them.
“Childproofing the home is a vital step for every parent,” says Vicki Lansky, author of Practical Parenting Tips (Meadowbrook Press; $9.00). “You can’t just plop a baby into your house and expect him to be safe.”
Practical Parenting Tips has sold 700,000 copies and is the best-selling book of it’s kind. From her newly revised edition, Lansky offers some helpful hints on how to make your house a safe environment for your children:
Your kitchen is rife with hot liquids, poisonous substances and jagged utensils. Children tend to be curious, so take precautions. “Lock up everything you can,” Lansky says. “You can use safety locks, a yardstick, bungee cords or even a dog collar. Just clamp down cabinets and doors so only adults can open them.”
Turn all saucepan handles to the rear of the stove, and remove the stove knobs or use knob covers. While you’re at it, move all cleaning supplies out from under the sink.
When you’re cooking, use a kitchen timer. A child can easily distract you, and if you don’t have a reminder, a fire can result.
In addition, have your child use paper cups instead of breakable mugs. If a glass still breaks, clean the mess up at once, and use a damp paper towel to pick up small shards.
The bathroom has even more dangers than the kitchen does. Again, make sure that all cabinets and drawers are locked. Never leave medicine or cleaning supplies out. Remember that mesh baskets in the shower are good for keeping shampoo, razors and other hazardous items out of kids’ hands.
When bathing your infant, do not leave her alone for a second. You may even want to take the phone off the hook so you will not be distracted.
Keep a key or tool just outside the bathroom in case a child locks herself inside. It’s not a bad idea to remove the doorknob altogether until your child is old enough to handle the lock.
Doors, Windows and Stairs
You can buy devices that will childproof windows or allow them to slide open only a few inches. It’s a good plan to put decals at eye level on glass doors and windows to remind children that they are solid objects.
Attach a bell to a window or door. This will notify you if your child has succeeded in opening them.
You can also place an old sock over door handles. Adults will be able to exert enough hand strength to twist the knob, but small children will not be able to.
A swinging gate at the top of the stairs has become a common sight in houses with newborns. A second gate at the bottom of the stairs is even better.
“If you have any doubt about how safe your house is, just get down on the floor and crawl around,” Lansky says. “You’ll be amazed to discover objects that your baby can choke on, sharp edges on furniture and many things that can easily snap off or tip over. You can never do too much to make your home safe for your child.”
Vicki Lansky’s Practical Parenting Tips contains over 1,500 helpful hints to help parents during the first five years.
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4/30/2004 11:20:03 AM