Life changes once your baby is on the move. Your toddler has had over a year to case your place, and decide which oh-so-interesting things they want to get their hands on…or put in their mouth. So it’s time to channel the kid in all of us and get down to their level and crawl around your home so you can see what the world looks like from a toddler’s point of view. Once you’ve identified the risks, neutralize them with these parent-tested tips.
Around the House
1. Cover Electrical Outlets
There are plastic plugs for this, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. You can even find these at dollar stores. In a pinch, if you’re at a friend’s house or other place that’s not toddler-proofed, you can tape over the plugs with any kind of tape. If you’ve got power strips, there are plastic cases that enclose the plugs with closures that are difficult for the kiddos to open.
2. Check Electrical Cords
If you have floor lamps or other electrical cords, tuck them behind furniture or block them so little ones can’t reach them. In a pinch, you can take a straight back chair and tip it on its side. The back of the chair and seat can form a protective barrier between a floor lamp and little hands.
3. Windows and Shades
Make sure you have window guards on the windows of upper floors; if you have blinds, be sure the cords are split (not a long loop), and are tied up and out of the way. Make sure your child’s bed and any bookcases, rocking chair, bench or toy chest are moved away from windows. Remember, your toddler will climb up on anything to get closer to the window to see what’s outside.
Some parents like to put a baby gate on the third step up from the bottom of a flight of stairs. This way a child can learn to negotiate going up and down the stairs and if they do take a tumble, it’s not very far to land. When they figure out how to go up and down (with your supervision and coaching), you’re teaching your toddler independence, along with a safe way to negotiate those stairs.
5. Cleaning Supplies
Put any kind of cleaning supplies out of reach. This means either locking the cabinet under the kitchen sink, or moving all of those potent chemicals higher, out of harm’s way. You can also wrap a short bungee cord around the handles of any cabinet doors that you want to keep off limits to your tyke. Do the same in the bathroom.
6. Natural Cleaners
You can also look at using natural cleaners. This is not a substitute for keeping these products out of your child’s reach, but an extra precaution. Plus, who wants all those chemicals around anyway?
7. Stove Safety
On the stove, keep pot handles turned to the back of the stove, and consider taking the knobs off the the stove and put them back on as you need them to cook.
8. Designated Cabinets
Some parents designate a lower cabinet for the kids to play with unbreakable food storage containers, wooden spoons and measuring cups. Your little ones can play safely and find some satisfaction in getting their hands on some “grown up” items that are safe to play with.
9. Latch the Fridge
Use a refrigerator latch. It’s easy to install, sticks to the side of your fridge and the front with adhesive to keep curious kids out of the fridge.
10. Portable Gate
Seem like too much? If your kitchen is small, You can also use a portable baby gate, one that installs in a doorway with tension rods. You can stay in the kitchen and cook, and your little one can stay safely out of the kitchen, but still see you, and you can still talk to them.
11. Out of Reach
Beware of anything that can be pulled down. Tablecloths might have to take up residence in the linen closet for a while and bookcases should be bolted to the wall. If you have a flat screen TV, it’s more secure to have it attached to the wall than it is to have it sitting atop a cabinet.
12. Sharp Edges
If you have a coffee table, it’s well worth cushioning the edges. The pad that looks like a giant rubber band is most effective since corner cushion products usually fall off.
13. Protective Shields
Use a clear plastic protective shield for the controls of your TV if it’s toddler level. Clear ones still allow the remotes to work. Or, push up your coffee table or a padded bench against the TV cabinet, and put the width of it between curious hands and your TV settings.
14. Restrict Access
Never leave your child unattended in the bathroom or in the tub. Keep the door closed even when not in use.
15. Slippery When Wet
Use a bath mat in the bathtub to keep your child from slipping.
16. Bath Spout
Cover the bathtub spout; inflatable covers are also convenient to take along when traveling.
17. Temperature Control
Consider lowering the temperature of your hot water heater to avoid accidental burns if the hot water gets turn on accidentally.
18. Lock Drawers
Install drawer locks (and in the kitchen, too). The contents of the drawer are still pretty easy to access as an adult, but not for little ones.
19. Careful With Cords
Keep small appliances with cords, razors and your make up out of reach and out of drawers that are easily accessible. Some make up products might be poisonous if eaten.
20. Latch the Seat
Use a toilet seat lock. Yes, the water is just too tempting to play in.
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