Accidents are the leading cause of death in children. Accidents most often happen in the home or in areas that parents are most comfortable letting down their guard. Most of these accidents are easily preventable. Improving toddler home safety will decrease the risk of accidents that your toddler may experience.
The following list of toddler home safety precautions were developed by leading experts. This list is by no means inclusive but it does account for some of the most common reasons children are injured in accidents.
Car seat safety: This includes having the seat anchored correctly, using the correct size for the child, and not taking the child out of a car seat before they are ready. The infant car seats carry children to 40 lbs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in car seats/boosters until they are at least 60 pounds.
Toys/Products: Especially when purchased second hand, products and toys should be checked for recall notices that may have been issued because of toddler home safety malfunctions. You can get a list of recalled products by calling 800-683-2772 or checking the website at www.cpsc.gov
Electricity: Toddlers are naturally curious. Electric plugs and cords are fascinating. Those prongs go into those holes in the wall. Before your toddler decides to find out what happens when a fork will do in a plug purchase plastic plug protectors for each of the plugs in your home. They are very inexpensive and can be manipulated only by adult hands. Children don’t have the dexterity or the strength to remove them
Plants: More of your houseplants are more poisonous than you think. Toddler home safety precautions include the potential that your child may eat dirt, leaves, berries, bark or roots of some of your plants. Although most houseplants are great at reducing the indoor air pollution caused by chemicals in your home they are also poisonous when ingested. Keep the number for the local poison control center handy and check your plant against a comprehensive list of poison houseplants.
Outdoors: Toddlers are naturally inquisitive and they love the outdoors. Use sunscreen liberally to keep them from burning and protect them from skin cancer. Keep locks on the doors that don’t allow them to get outside when they aren’t supervised. Go beyond the standard door locks and add little flip locks placed up higher on the door than they can reach, even when they pull a chair over! Use window guards for windows that open easily.
Heat: Toddlers love to play. Include a survey of all of the heat producing objects in your home when you are protecting toddler home safety. The hot water heater should be turned down to 120 degrees or lower to protect against accidental scalding burns. Don’t carry hot liquids when you are carrying your toddler – little hands move quickly. When cooking, use the very back burners and keep the handles of the pots and pans to the inside of the stove.
Miscellaneous: Use soft guards on the edges and corners of furniture. Tie up cords and blind pulls out of reach of little hands. Use wall anchors for large pieces of furniture that make great climbing posts and can come down easily. Never use mobile baby walkers because of the risk. If you have to use a walker a stationary one is much safer. Kitchen cabinets should always be locked. If you can, use only cleaners and equipment that are safe for you and your child.
Small changes in your habits will make toddler home safety easy and decrease the number of accidents that happen in the home and on the road.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Infants and Toddlers Safety in the Home and Community
Parents: Safety Tips
BabyCenter: Child Safety at Home
KidsHealth: Household Safety Checklist
SafeKids: Safety Tips
SafetyED: Top 10 Tips for Keeping Toddlers Safe at Home
Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Home Safety for Infants and toddlers