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Baby Proofing: Know Your Child’s Environment

A guide to baby proofing your home and life

Baby proofing measures are very important. There are endless, potentially dangerous situations and products a child may face on a daily basis. Just as many online checklists that will help you childproof every square inch of their lives. Finding the right balance between safety and over-protection is key.

Analyze your surroundings

Before you bring your baby home, it is essential that you accurately analyze the safety of your home and any other environment your child will be in. Every parent must decide how much they will be baby proofing their lives.

It’s not a bad idea to get down on the floor and analyze each room of your house. This allows you to view your home from a child’s perspective. Here are some things that are safety hazards for children.

  • Stairs: According to the CDC, 8,000 children are treated for falls in emergency rooms across the U.S. every day. Restrict access to the stairs by using a baby gate.
  • Swimming pools: More children between the ages of 1 and 4 die from drowning than any other cause. According to the Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention, for every drowning, there are 11 near-drowning accidents. Installing a 5-foot-high fence around the pool with self-closing gates and latches is the first step. Use only certified life jackets, not the air-filled floaties.
  • Dishwashers: Not only does a dishwasher provide access to dangerous, sharp utensils, the detergent is dangerous if it gets into your child’s eyes. If a child swallows it, it can burn them.
  • Ranges and stoves: Since 1991, manufacturers have included anti-tip brackets on the back legs of stoves. If a range is improperly installed, it’s a safety issue for everyone in the household. Open your oven door and carefully push down on it. If it tips, your stove is not equipped with anti-tip brackets.

Most common childhood injuries you can avoid with baby proofing

According to National Institutes of Health statistics, every hour, 150 children go to ERs across the country for injuries from motor vehicles.

  • Car seats reduce the risk of death by 54% in children between the ages of 1 and 4. Booster seats reduce the risk for older children between the ages of 4 and 8 by 45%.
  • Follow weight and age guidelines to ensure safety.
  • Air bags may be a beneficial safety feature for teens and adults, but they can injure or kill a child. Any child under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat instead of the front.

Suffocation is a concern, especially for infants.

  • Around 82% of accidental infant suffocation occurs in bed. Infants should be on their backs to sleep, which reduces risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Soft blankets, bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals may look beautiful in the new crib you purchased, but they should be removed before you place an infant in the bed to sleep.

Poisoning causes the death of two children every day in the U.S.

  • Make sure all cleaning products and other harmful products are out of the reach of children.
  • Post the phone number for the poison help number—1-800-222-1222—in an accessible place.
  • Keep medications, over-the-counter remedies, and beauty products away from children.

Teach your children well

No amount of baby proofing replaces supervision. Even very young children catch on quickly to concepts like buckling up and which things in the house are “hot” and can cause injury.

You should complete baby proofing, along with thorough home and yard safety assessments, before your child comes home. If you would like additional information or resources on child safety issues, just contact one of our helpful client advocates at the Center for Surrogate Parenting.