Every year, more than 3.2 million children are injured in their homes seriously enough to need emergency medical care. More children in the United States die from unintentional, preventable injuries than from all diseases combined.
Creating a safe environment for your baby is the best thing you can do to help prevent injuries at home. To begin babyproofing your home, get down on your hands and knees and think like a baby. Viewing your home from your baby’s eye level can help you spot possible dangers. Because men and women tend to look at home and safety measures differently, both mom- and dad-to-be should be involved in babyproofing. Begin early in your pregnancy so you can include safety items on your baby registry list.
Keeping children safe
Parents, grandparents and caregivers need to follow the ABCs of sleep: Babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a safe Crib.
Top tips for baby proofing your home
- For the first year of life, infants should sleep in their own bed or crib in the parents’ room. Remember the ABC’s of safe infant sleeping: Alone on their Back in a safe Crib (or bassinet or play yard).
- Choose a crib with slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, a mattress that fits snugly against the frame and sides that rise 22 inches above the mattress. Do not use a drop-side crib.
- Place the crib at least 1 foot away from furniture, hampers, radiators, heating vents and windows. Make sure cords from window shades and curtains are out of the baby’s reach.
- Make sure the crib has no sharp corners, edges or projections (such as posts) and no broken, cracked or loose parts.
- Nothing goes into the crib except the baby. No toys, bumper pads, pillows, blankets, etc. Just one tight, fitted sheet.
- Ensure your changing table, high chair and other items (such as grocery carts) have straps to prevent falls. Use the straps every time.
- Keep dangerous household items out of reach of babies and children, including plants, cigarettes and ashtrays, loose change, latex balloons, button batteries (often found in remote controls and key fobs), lighters, jewelry and cosmetics.
- Put safety latches on cabinet doors and drawers.
- Store cleaning supplies away from foods, up high, in a locked cabinet and in the original, labeled
- Store medicines and vitamins out of reach, in original, clearly marked containers with child-resistant caps. Make sure you also check medicine storage at other places where your child spends time (grandparents, child care centers, etc.).
- Keep the Poison Control Center phone number (800-222-1222) on your refrigerator and in your cellphone.
- Place plastic outlet plugs in all unused electrical outlets or install child-resistant covers over them.
- Make sure all electric cords are out of reach of children and not frayed, cracked, run under rugs or stapled to baseboards.
- Empty buckets, ice chests and pools immediately after use. Keep toilet lids down and bathroom doors closed. Children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water, and you will not hear him or her. Always actively supervise children around any water!
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees (electric) or “warm” (gas) to prevent burns.
- Check bath water temperature beforeputting your child in the bathtub.
- Ensure all furniture, washers and dryers are stable or securely fastened to the wall so they cannot be pulled over.
- Mount televisions on the wall or attach them securely to the furniture they are sitting on and attach the furniture to the wall. TV and furniture tip-overs are deadly, and the number of children hurt is increasing.
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. Do not use a pressure-mounted gate at the top of a stairway; install a gate that bolts to the wall.
SafeKids Louisville, led by Norton Children’s Hospital Prevention & Wellness, offers a complete home safety checklist to help you protect your child — and everyone else in the family — from unintentional injuries.