Toddlers have absolutely no fear at all!
So many items around your home are dangerous for toddlers, and I bet that you don’t know about half of them!
In this post, I will show you the steps I took when toddler-proofing my home because it is our job to keep them safe!
I admit it, I am a little obsessed with making our home completely Toddler proof…
Since my son was born, I only see the worst-case scenario, and I am sure that I am not the only one! For instance, around 2000 deaths per year result from a home injury to a person 14 years or younger.
As he steamrolls throughout our home like a bull in a china shop, my eyes are scanning the environment for breakable items, things he can hit his head on, and things he can trip up or stand on (mostly his toys, by the way).
Even when he is sleeping, I am worried about him falling out of bed, sleeping walking out of a window, or accidentally strangling himself on a random bit of cord that he found somewhere! It is tiring…
Whilst we cannot protect our children 100% of the time, especially for the rest of their lives, it is our job to make the house safe and protect them as much as we can. In this post, I will run you through what I do to toddler-proof our home, primarily for their safety, but also because it costs too much to replace breakable items!
Your First Task – Stalk Your Home
As I walk into each room of my home, I run a quick scan of the area to identify anything that we (my wife and I) may have inadvertently left out to be dangerous to our Son. That is simply an ongoing process that I will probably never stop doing!
If you have never toddler-proofed your home, you will need to do this for each room, but what do you need to look out for?
Luckily for you, I have put together a list of the common things I checked when I started to toddler-proof my home because, at first, it is difficult to notice things when you have been used to leaving items out since before you were a parent.
How To Toddler Proof Your Home
Let’s begin with possibly the most dangerous item in your home, electricity. Toddlers can bite into cables or stick metal objects into electricity sockets, so what can you do to protect your toddler from the dangers of electricity?
Purchase some plug socket blanking plates and cover all sockets that your toddler can reach.
Do not leave chargers plugged in.
Phones, tablets, lights, your toothbrush, all of these items will need to be charged. Constantly. Sometimes, you may leave the charger plugged into the wall socket, especially when you are in a rush but not actually charging anything. This can pose a significant health risk to a toddler or a young child. Especially one who likes putting objects into their mouth!
Always unplug electrical items when they are not in use. Better still, move them out of harm’s way completely.
It would be best if you stored knives and other sharp items (scissors etc.) away from your toddler’s reach. It is vital that they cannot reach knives if you want a toddler-proof home!
I have already discussed what you can do to make your kitchen safe for toddlers, but here we look at knives.
You have a couple of choices here:
- Buy a knife rack
- Store knives and sharp objects too high for your toddler to reach.
Sharp objects include knives, scissors, meat skewers, peelers, meat thermometers, and many other things. Take some time to go through each drawer that your toddler can reach and move everything sharp up high.
When I enter a room, I begin by scanning it for potential dangers. I even do it in other people’s homes, whether they have kids or not!
One of the most easily missed dangers is sharp edges on furniture. You know toddlers, they are not very steady on their feet, and they have absolutely no spatial awareness! It would be best to prepare for it by protecting each corner to ensure that any bumps are not as bad as they can be.
I must mention here that I know toddlers need to go through the bumps to enhance their environmental awareness. The goal here is to minimize the damage of a toddler running full sprint into the corner of a table.
You must have the ability to lock your windows. Not only for security but also for inquisitive toddlers who love to open and close anything they can find. More than 4000 children are injured by falling out of a window each year.
Take some time to consider this: Your toddler begins to sleepwalk, which brings with it a whole world of potential hazards! During their sleepwalking episode, they open a window and fall out. You are asleep,
I know that is extremely unlikely to happen, but why not prepare for that anyway? Why not implement a lock on each window of your home? Not only will this stop your toddler from opening the window during the day, but it will also stop them from opening the window at night too.
Also, having the ability to lock your windows will help stop the bad guys from getting in!
Whilst we are on the subject of windows, you may also want to cover your windows and glass doors with shatterproof film because toddlers can run pretty fast, and their heads are tougher than they look.
This is very similar to locking your windows and carries almost as much risk to your toddler, too (it will not hurt as much if they fall through a door).
Any entrance to your home must be secure, and your toddler must not be able to open them without you being present. There is no point in having a toddler-proof home if they can escape!
I mentioned above about the dangers of toddlers sleepwalking, and if they manage to get to an external door that is easy to open, they could find themselves outside in the middle of the night. Surely I do not have to explain how dangerous that can be, especially if you live near a road!
You must be confident that your toddler cannot open an external door.
Secure each entrance with a hard-to-reach lock and sleep soundly!
Hot Water Faucet
If the temperature is high enough, your toddler will be scalded with hot water. For those of us who have picked up a hot plate without realizing it, we know how it feels!
It is a challenge to secure any hot water faucet from being used, especially as you cannot raise the hot water tap out of your toddler’s reach!
You can, however, purchase a safety guard for faucets.
Again, I know that it is important to realize that kids sometimes need to learn the hard way, but I would prefer it if they did not hurt themselves in the process!
As soon as your little one begins to crawl, it would be best if you were arming each flight of stairs with a stair gate. It is common sense!
When I was deciding how many stair gates I need, I considered all possibilities. What if my son went sleepwalking in the night? Would I be happy if he left his bedroom? If he did, is there a room that I prefer for him not to go to? Are there any rooms in the house that I do not want him to go into, even if he is awake?
I opted for 3 stair gates. One for the bottom of the stairs, one for the top, and one for his bedroom. That may be overkill, but hey, I am all about safety!
When I enter the home of a friend, I stalk the living room to see what is easily breakable. The most common items are made of glass, which is especially true if they do not have any children.
Have a look throughout your home for any glass objects that your toddler can reach up and grab. If there are any objects, then you can bet your bottom dollar they will break them within weeks!
A toddler-proof home must not have objects that can be used as missiles!
Batteries can be hazardous to toddlers and babies, especially the button battery types!
It is extremely important that you do not let children play with batteries or any devices where batteries are easily accessible.
If your toddler swallows a battery, they could end up with severe burns in their throat or stomach, or even worse, they could die from their injuries.
I always store batteries on a top shelf. Sure, I get some complaints when my wife cannot reach them, but it is better to be safe than sorry, right?
This is not simply cords that are attached to blinds. Many household items have a cord attached to them, which could cause an accident where your toddler is strangled. It doesn’t bear thinking about it!
Most blinds already have a safety item that needs to be installed with the cord to ensure that it will not strangle anybody. Use it. Always install it.
Take some time to check through your home to identify any loose cords that your toddler can reach, secure them, or remove them completely.
Fairly lights are pretty, and my wife has a mild obsession with them, but they can be dangerous if they are not secured or stored correctly.
Your toddler will be attracted to the pretty lights for a start and may decide to wrap them around their neck. See above. I do not need to tell you how dangerous that can be.
Not only are they a strangulation hazard, but some cheaply made fairy lights have been known to cause house fires.
I always ensure every fairly light is switched off before retiring to bed! It is worse around the Christmas period, where it can take some time to go through them all!
Picture Frames Falling
This one is unlikely to happen. However, it is something that I thought about some time ago. It is a potential hazard and something that you really should prepare for, just in case.
I first noticed this when my wife decided to create a photo wall. Exactly 2 hours after the decision, she had put up over 20 photographs on the wall, all inside photo frames. I must admit, it looked good then, and it looks better now that we have added more as time has progressed.
A few days after the initial setup, my son played underneath the photo wall and bashed into it, as these boisterous male toddlers do, right? Immediately after impact, the wall shook, and I thought some of the frames were going to tumble down onto my son’s head. They didn’t…but they could have!
When placing photo frames on the wall, always ensure that you put the frames up correctly. Secure them to the wall. My wife used 1 nail for each frame, which was not enough. I secured the frames by adding 2 screws into the wall.
When you want to toddler-proof your house, it is these little things that you need to notice, along with the big things that everyone knows about!
Pens, pencils, needles…sharp objects are commonplace in most homes, but only when you have a toddler to control that you realize just how dangerous these objects can be!
Take a look around your home and make a note of all the sharp items that your toddler can reach. Now imagine your toddler picking it up and running down a hall, still not very steady on their feet. Does your stomach turn? Mine does just thinking about it.
Remove all sharp objects and place them high enough so they cannot be reached by Toddler’s hands.
As I look around now, I can see sharp pencils and pens, along with a fork that somehow made it out of the cutlery drawer.
If you want to toddler-proof your home, somewhere near the top of the list should be moving all cleaning equipment, especially the Bleach! Each year, 25,000 Children attended the hospital after ingesting poison.
One of the first things I did was move all items that I didn’t want my son to drink if he got a little thirsty. Drinking cleaning equipment will cause some serious health problems, so always be aware of where each item is at all times, and store them out of reach.
I moved everything to a storage unit at head height (that’s my head, not my son’s). I do not want him to reach them, and now he cannot.
It is second only to cleaning equipment. There is also another liquid that you do not want your toddler drinking. It will mostly make them poorly and because you do not want them to drink YOUR alcohol.
Store alcoholic beverages well away from your toddler’s reach. Again, I suggest moving them high enough so they cannot reach.
8,000 Children are injured each year as the result of a fall in the home.
Bed falls are widespread with toddlers because they literally DO NOT stop moving when they are asleep. You would have thought they would have burnt all of their energy running around all day, right?
A bed guard is an important tool in your quest for toddler proofing your home.
They are easy to install and easy to use. You can be sure that your toddler will not fall out with a bed guard in place. Plus, it means you get more quality sleep because it is one thing that you do not have to worry about!
Toddler proofing your home is either something that you learn over time, or it is something that you take advice on. In this post, I have run through the common ways of ensuring your house is toddler-proof and much safer than an average house for your toddler to play in.
When we visit friends, I usually have one pass through each of the rooms my son is likely to play in, removing various objects that he will hurt himself on. It is even more of a challenge when we visit friends who do not have children!
Good luck, and stay safe!