How to Child-Proof a House

By Maria Scinto
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Preventable injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States, according to the organization Safe Kids Worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as of 2012 more than 9,000 children were dying each year due to unintentional injury, while nearly 9 million per year were treated in hospital emergency rooms. Many of these injuries were due to accidents that can occur in the home, such as suffocation, poisoning, burns or falls. Childproof your home to minimize any risk to your child.

Step 1

Install window guards on any windows that are low to the ground or are in a location where your little one might be able to climb up to reach them. These sets of removable bars screw into the sides of a window frame, and are meant to make it very difficult for young children to access or open windows. Alison Rhodes of Safety Mom Solutions recommends that you remove the crank from casement windows and keep it in a safe place. Use cordless window coverings to prevent your child from getting his head caught in a looped blind cord and possibly strangling. Cut the cord loops if you cannot change the blind coverings, and replace them with a free retrofit safety kit from the Window Covering Safety Council.

Step 2

Bolt heavy, unstable furniture such as shelving units, bookcases, dressers and television stands to the wall so your child doesn't try to pull himself up on these and have them topple over on him. Secure freestanding ovens with anti-tip brackets. Keep dresser drawers closed so these can't be used as stepping stools, since your little one could pull out a drawer on top of himself. Move his crib mattress to the lowest position as soon as he's able to pull himself up, and remove any mobiles, crib toys or bumper pads that he might be able to climb up on.

Step 3

Install safety gates at the bottom and top of any flights of stairs so your little crawler or toddler doesn't take a tumble down. Make sure these safety gates aren't the older style with "V"-shaped openings large enough to trap a child's head. Use doorknob covers to keep little hands from turning the knob on any doors you don't want them opening, and secure kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets with safety latches and locks. Make sure all dangerous items such as medicines, household cleaning products, matches and knives are kept in childproof storage areas.

Step 4

Remove the knobs from your stove when it's not in use, so baby can't accidentally turn on a burner. Secure the oven door with an oven latch, and keep the dishwasher locked. Use the back burners when cooking whenever possible, or install a stove guard so baby can't reach up and tip over a hot pot on himself. Turn the handles of pots and pans to the side so they won't hang over the front of the stove, because this will make them more difficult to grab.

Step 5

Set your water heater to 120 degrees and use anti-scald devices on your faucets and shower heads to prevent your child from suffering a burn from too-hot water. Cover your tub faucet with a rubber spout cover, so your little one won't get bumps and bruises when bathing. Surround your backyard swimming pool with a tall fence that has a self-latching gate, and keep your little one away from water in buckets, wading pools, hot tubs and even the dog's dish, since a small child can drown in as little as one inch of water. Secure the toilet with a toilet latch to keep your kiddo safe from the water, and to keep your plumbing safe from whatever he might try to flush down.

About the Author

I am a former librarian turned freelance writer and researcher - I got my start writing for writeforcash.com, and this was when I first learned I could turn my talent for research into writing articles on just about any topic. Parenting is my favorite topic - I am the homeschooling work-at-home single mom of a four-year-old son. I also enjoy writing about pets (I have a Chow/Husky mix, 2 orange-striped kittens, and a hermit crab - unless he died since I last checked - and I used to have a fish but the kittens ate him), food (I like to cook, like to eat out, just plain love to eat), dieting (my metabolism isn't so crazy about all this eating), TV (my son and I are up on all the latest cartoon series). I have regular gigs writing about political questions (for askquestions.org) and all things Virginian (for Northern Virginia Magazine) and also work as a fact checker, web editor, and data annotator.