A Guide to Proper Toddler-Proofing
Don't take risks at home with a toddler on the loose.
Toddlers are leaps and bounds away from their younger baby selves… and if you’re not careful, your toddler may be cleverer than you give him credit for. I’ve been victimized by one such clever toddler on many occasions. But once I got the hang of it, I’ve gradually begun toddler-proofing our home. I can’t make everything inaccessible (or invisible), but I’m doing my best!
As I continue to try to think one step ahead of my one-girl wrecking crew, I’ve found a number of helpful resources and tips online (of course). Here’s what I can tell you about properly toddler-proofing your home.
Think It Through
Take a good look around your home and find these items and other dangers. Try to think like your little one and locate all the shiny, weird-looking things that may attract his attention. Thinking one step ahead is always a good approach. Cover outlets, lock drawers and cabinets, gate off the stairs, and cushion the corners of the furniture. Basically, everything is an accident waiting to happen to a curious little tyke, so don’t take anything for granted. If you need help, take a peek at this Home Safety Checklist from Safe Kids, broken down by room for easy execution.
Curiosity Climbed the Chair
Most kids are just curious about the items they encounter in their surroundings. If possible, it’s just best to keep dangerous objects, important papers, and delicate electronics out of sight. High up on an unreachable shelf, in a room with a closed door, locked down in a fire-proof safe… wherever you can totally hide things, it’s a good idea. But some items can’t be hidden and your curious little one will fixate on those items until he gets his hands on them. Try not to leave open drawers, empty boxes, or pulled-out chairs beneath these items, because to a toddler, everything is a staircase.
Of course, there are a number of companies manufacturing safety locks and other tools. You can find great safety items online or at your local Target or Walmart in the baby aisle. You’ll find some great products from the trustworthy brand OneStepAhead online. You might also consider going straight to the professionals and having an expert come in to baby- and toddler-proof your entire house. Check out Safe Solutions of New England if you’d like to learn more about a service like this.
At Parents Magazine, I also encountered a helpful list of surprising safety hazards you may have in your home. I had many of them at play in my home, so I definitely recommend you take a look at these unexpected areas and get toddler-proofing. Highlights from the article included:
- The dishwasher, where your toddler will find sharp knives, forks, and detergent. Point knives downward in the tray, only fill the dispenser right before you run the wash cycle, and keep that door locked at all times. Never leave the door open unattended.
- Hand-me-down toys and gear. Always check that these items aren’t broken, missing pieces, or have other safety hazards.
- Your purse. Those little hands want to explore the bag Mommy brings with her everyone, so take a moment to consider what you store in there. If you can’t toddler-proof your handbag, keep it out of sight in a safe location.
Do what you can to educate yourself and keep your toddler safe from these and other dangers in your home. Of course, good supervision can also help to prevent accidents in the home (or anywhere), but taking these extra measures makes it even harder for your little one to get into trouble!