Childproofing your home 101

It doesn’t take long for a baby to go from cuddly and brand-new (and stationary) to curious and looking for adventure — in fact, it happens in the blink of an eye. Another thing that can happen in the blink of an eye? A household accident that could have been prevented by doing essential childproofing in and around your home.

Outlets and cabinets and faucets…oh my!

According to KidsHealth.org, accidental injury is the leading cause of death in children under 14, and more than a third of them happen at home. There are a variety of culprits that can contribute to accidental deaths once a child reaches the crawling stage. Suffocation, drowning, choking, falls, poisoning, and guns top a frightening list.

Properly installed child safety devices go a long way in protecting your little ones. Here are 12 suggested items from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission — and the good news is, they’re available at almost any hardware or home improvement store:

  • Safety latches and locks — Kids can get ahold of dangerous household cleaners, medicines, and sharp objects quicker than you think. Foil the plan by investing in cabinet and drawer latches and locks in your bathrooms, kitchen, and garage. And remember, don’t assume child-resistant packaging will do the work for you — it’s simply not reliable.
  • Safety gates — Children can easily fall down a steep flight of steps before you even realize they’re out of sight. Find a safety gate that meets current safety standards, and replace outdated gates that are large enough to trap a child’s neck or head.
  • Door knob covers and door locks — A well-built door lock or door knob cover can help prevent kids from getting into hazardous spaces.
  • Anti-scald devices — The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 300 children under the age of 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries every day. Affixing anti-scald devices on faucets and showerheads — as well as setting your water heater temperature to 120 Fahrenheit — will help reduce the likelihood of burns.
  • Smoke alarms — According to the National Fire Protection Association, every home should be equipped with a smoke alarm on each level of the structure, inside every bedroom, and outside all sleeping areas. And always check smoke alarms once a month to ensure they’re working, and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Window guards and safety netting — Window screens can be a false sense of security. Every year, 8 children under the age of 5 die from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital. Properly installed and maintained window guards and safety nettings can help prevent a catastrophic fall, but make sure to limit window openings to no more than 4 inches, including the space between the window guard bars.
  • Corner and edge bumpers — Kids are well-known for being unsteady on their feet, so the hazards of a table corner or a razor-sharp fireplace edge are all too real. Find bumpers that secure well and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when affixing them.
  • Outlet covers and outlet plates — Children are curious and love to put their fingers and toes where they shouldn’t. Protect your kiddos from electrical shock and electrocution by installing tamper-resistant receptacles on each outlet in your home. And make sure they’re large enough so that small children can’t choke on them.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm — Whether you have children in your home or not, you should install CO alarms near all of the sleeping areas in your home.
  • Cordless window coverings — Kids can easily wrap window covering cords around their necks. According to the Window Covering Safety Council, any blinds from 2000 or earlier should be repaired or replaced.
  • Furniture anchors Children love to climb on furniture, but a 40-pound child is no match for a 200-pound bureau, so anchor heavy furniture to the floor or attach it to a wall.
  • Pool and spa covers If you own a pool or a spa, a full enclosure complete with a 4-foot-tall fence equipped with a self-closing, self-latching gate is non-negotiable. Door and pool alarms can also serve as an additional layer of protection. Keep in mind that sliding glass doors with locks that must be re-secured after each use are not a safety measure.

For more information

For additional household peace of mind, look no further. Grinnell Mutual’s home insurance has got you covered.