Experts suggest we should start child-proofing our homes as early as possible. Some of the risks of not babyproofing are drowning, burns, and choking.
Baby proofing is a lot more complex than we’ve been told. Most homes are filled with nooks and crannies that a child can easily slip into. This can be a source of stress for new and seasoned parents alike. For that reason, it’s important to consider the many places a mobile child can find danger in the home.
Things like outlets, stairs, and areas with chemicals are brought up frequently, but let’s talk about places that are often overlooked until you find out the hard way, as we did.
I never thought I’d have to baby-proof the toilet. But if the bathroom door is left open, within a matter of seconds our house is filled with the sound of splashing and giggles. At first, the sounds of joy warm our hearts and put big smiles on our faces, but upon identifying the source, our smiles fade.
Make sure your child doesn’t have access to the bathroom unattended. Toilets are gross, and bring a risk of exposure to lots of germs. But the biggest concern is the danger of drowning, as it is a body of water. Plus you don’t want to walk into the bathroom to find a toilet filled with towels, like we did.
Under the oven
Most ovens have a storage space for pans and other baking tools underneath. The under-oven area poses a high risk due to glass dishes that are often used for cooking and other dangerous items. As we know glass and babies do not mix, so it’s best to keep them away.
Unfortunately, this area can be challenging to baby-proof without some impenetrable force like duct tape. (Okay, you may not want to use duct tape on your oven, but it is one of the strongest things ever, right?) Keep in mind that babies are creative creatures and if the area isn’t effectively secured, they might outsmart you. There have been many times we thought we secured an area and our toddler proved us wrong.
The plastic sack stash
You know the collection with hundreds of plastic shopping bags that every house seems to have for no apparent reason? Well, you’re going to want to baby proof that. As with any plastic material, that excessive stash of plastic sacks poses a serious suffocation threat.
If you decide to keep them, consider putting them in a location that is far above your toddler’s reach. Or better yet, how about we all just get rid of those pesky bags. Who needs 500 of them anyway?
If you have pets…
Last but certainly not least, one place that is often overlooked when babyproofing is the pet area. We learned this the hard way when I walked in on my one-and-a-half-year-old eating dog food. And of course, I knew there was no one to blame but myself for having not made the area harder to get to.
This can be dangerous because of the yucky stuff dogs bring into the house traveling back and forth from outside – and cat litter boxes are the worst! But it’s not just about germs. Water bowls are a drowning hazard, and pet food is a choking hazard. To limit this risk, we decided to move the dog food and water to the downstairs bathroom where the door remains closed. Your pet will be happy and so will you.
Our son is an adventurer so we learned many of these things the hard way. It’s important to take notice if you haven’t seen your child for a while – silence should be especially frightening. Children are creative, so it’s up to us to anticipate their next moves just as creatively.
About the author:
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a writer who specializes in sociology, health, and parenting. Her work has appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, Allure, and many other publications. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her website.
- Rupal Christine Gupta. “Childproofing and preventing household accidents.” Kids Health. The Nemours Foundation, November 2016. Retrieved August 31 2017. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/childproof.html.