Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Safety Precautions When Baby is Mobile

As soon as your baby is able to move around the house without being carried, it is time to childproof the house. The first and most important thing to remember is that babies will be curious about things you may think would never interest them.

The statistics on the number of children who get hurt and often become a fatality from household accidents are alarming. Some accidents, of course, can simply not be prevented, but a great majority of them can be foreseen and avoided. It is not difficult to make the house safe for your newly mobile baby.

Start with the basic items such as moving hazardous things like cleaning products and medications out of baby's reach. Buy plastic covers for all the unused electrical outlets in the house. Turn the temperature of the water coming from your hot water faucets down on the water heater. Many households have the setting at much hotter than the water actually needs to be.

It is a good idea to go from room to room and make a list of things you will need to change or childproof. It is a good idea to crawl through the room on your hands and knees to see things from the baby's level. You will see many things you may have otherwise missed whether it is a carpet tack that has come loose or a cord that will fascinate the baby but attached to something he or she could pull causing a heavy lamp or appliance to be pulled on top of that little head.

Poisons and medications: You need to move these substances out of the reach of children. This doesn't just mean moving them all higher because all too soon the same baby just learning to walk will be climbing, too, so having to do it all twice can be avoided. Make sure the child cannot get access to these things from the beginning. Closing a cupboard door that a toddler can open or using a medicine cabinet that can be reached by climbing isn't a good resolution and remains a danger.

Flammable materials and burn hazards: Make sure that the toddler will not be able to find matches or lighters anywhere in the house. This is especially important if there is a smoker in the house or visitors who smoke. Matches or lighters can very easily slip between sofa cushions and you need to make sure that didn't happen before the child finds such things. If you burn candles for whatever reason, do not leave the candles or the baby unattended for even a minute. A candle flame is fascinating to a child.

Stairs: Buy a gate not only for the top of any stairs in the house, but also for the bottom to keep the new climber from getting too adventurous. Never assume that a baby is too young to climb steps once he is mobile.

Drowning: Many household accidents involve drowning. Be aware that a child can drown in a very shallow amount of water and it can happen very quickly. This means just an inch or two in the bathtub, so never keep water standing in the tub for any reason. Make sure your pool has a locked gate with a fence. Don't forget unusual places where water should not be standing, either, such as your cleaning buckets. Last but not least, keep the lid on the toilet down, but the better idea is to deny access to the bathroom altogether because of the safety hazards that appear in that room.