While you don't want to be a high-strung parent who is paranoid of danger lurking behind every corner, it is critical to your child's safety and well-being that you educate yourself about your house's danger zones. It's a good idea to go through your home every few months and evaluate these danger zones to ensure that everything is safe for your child.
Danger Zone - Bathroom
The bathroom is probably the one room in your house that poses the most threat. This is not only because of medicine cabinets and cleaning products but also because of the toilet and bathtub. It may be hard to believe, but it takes just a few inches of water-like what you would find in a toilet-for a small child to drown. Toilet lid locks will keep small, curious children safe.
Never leave children unattended in a bathtub. Again, the risk of drowning is very real. You should also make sure the water temperature is set lower so that your child isn't scalded by hot water. You can purchase faucet covers that will keep children from being able to turn the handles on the faucet.
Children are also at risk of slipping and falling, so make sure the bathtub has non-slip bath mats or non-slip decals.
One of the other danger zones in your bathroom is your medicine cabinet. It is important to keep medications, supplements and vitamins out of a child's reach. You can do this by storing them up high with tightly sealed, childproof lids. Or you may wish to lock the medications in another area of the home.
It's important that you also go through your medications, supplements and vitamins every-so-often to check the expiration dates. Expired medications can lose their strength or even spoil.
Kitchen cabinets can be a danger zone, especially those under the sink where we typically store cleaning supplies and chemicals. You can still keep these items underneath the sink if you install childproof cabinet locks. Otherwise, you should find another area of the house where children cannot access them.
Check all lower cabinets where children have access for items that may be unsafe or dangerous. Knives, items with sharp corners, or anything that could hurt your child should be removed and stored out of reach.
Other cabinets may contain food, which can be a danger zone if your child has any food allergies. Make sure that any foods your child is allergic to are out of reach or locked up. You can also install door knob guards or cabinet locks to keep your children out.
Stoves pose the risk of a child burning themselves or starting a fire, so you should protect your child by installing knob guards. These prevent the child from turning on the burners.
Danger Zone - Backyards
Your backyard can pose some serious dangers, especially if you have a pool. Sadly, every year in the United States, hundreds of children accidentally drown in a pool. Any doors that lead to the outside should have locks that children cannot reach. Pools should be fenced and you can also have an alarm system installed that will alert you if someone should fall into the pool.
Be aware of other water hazards in the backyard, such as buckets, birdbaths, decorative ponds or even wheelbarrows that have collected rainwater. Children should not have access to any standing water. Even as little as 2 inches can pose a drowning threat.Safely store all yard tools and related implements -- rakes, shovels, trowels, hoes, fertilizer, etc. -- after every use in a locked garage or tool shed where curious children cannot gain entry.
Danger Zone - Driveways
Your driveway can also be a danger zone. Children have been hit and killed by drivers who back up in a driveway and are unaware that a small child is behind them. Before backing out of your driveway, make sure there is no one around and keep your eyes on your mirrors while backing up.
If you have been washing your car in your driveway, never leave a bucket of water sitting unattended. Just as a small child can fall into a toilet, a small child can also topple into a bucket of water.
Danger Zone - Miscellaneous
Throughout the home you will find outlets. These pose the threat of a child being electrocuted. You can easily cover all of your outlets with childproof outlet covers.
Children should also not have access to any room in the house that uses a space heater, floor furnace, or radiator, as these can result in child burn injuries. You may wish to install gates to keep children out of these rooms. Space heaters have also been known to tip over, so purchase a model that has an automatic safety feature that will shut off the heater if it topples over.
Cords of various kinds can present a danger to your children, whether they are hanging cords from blinds or those attached to appliances. Cords from blinds can present a strangulation danger. Cords from appliances can be pulled on, causing the appliance to fall on a child. Something hot like a crock pot could result in burn injuries, while something heavier, like a television, can result in serious injuries or even death.
There should be at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. Your entire home can easily become a danger zone if you do not have working smoke detectors installed, which also includes in the attic and basement. Smoke detectors should be tested every 3 months and batteries should be replaced every 6 months.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer because it is an odorless, undetected poisonous gas. Carbon monoxide smoke detectors can keep your entire family safe.
There are some rooms that are not safe for children so door knob guards can keep children out of them. This is especially useful for doors that lead to steep stairs, such as the basement, or the bathroom if you don't want your child in there unattended. As an alternative, you can also put up safety gates.
Some pieces of furniture that have sharp corners can also be dangerous to very small children, especially those who are first learning to walk. Corner and edge bumpers can be a great way to protect your child from injuries.
Children can also pull large pieces of furniture on top of them if they are not secured to the wall. Bookshelves, curio cabinets and other types of heavy furniture should be anchored to the wall.
By following these simple safety tips you can be sure that your child will be safe and happy in your home.