Seattle's Child

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13 Ways to Toddler-Proof Your Home


Keeping-up with active and curious toddlers isn't easy. To help parents, the Home Safety Council – a national nonprofit dedicated to preventing home injuries – recommends taking a second look at home safety as soon as babies show the first signs of movement.

The Home Safety Council offers the following 13 tips to keep little explorers safe throughout the home.

Nursery Safety Tips

  • Keep cribs and other furniture away from windows. Have window guards or window stops on upper windows. Make sure an adult can open the window fast in case of a fire.

  • Secure tall pieces of furniture by anchoring them to the wall stud so they don't tip over if your child tries to climb on them.

  • Use safety gates at the nursery door and at the tops and bottoms of stairs. For the tops of the stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure than "pressure gates."

  • Window blind cords should not have a loop. Cut any loop in two pieces and place them up high where children cannot reach them.

  • Pick up small items like buttons, coins, jewelry and small toys. If something is small enough to fit in a toilet paper tube, it is not safe for little children.

  • Make sure a smoke alarm is inside or near every bedroom. Test each smoke alarm every month. Push the test button until you hear a loud noise. Put new batteries in your smoke alarms at least one time each year.

Bathroom Safety Tips:

  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees or just below the medium setting.

  • Make sure the electrical outlet has a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Test it monthly.

  • Always stay close enough to touch your child when he or she is in or near the bathtub or near the toilet.

  • Install special tub spouts and shower heads that prevent hot water burns. They will sense if the water gets hot enough to cause a burn and shut off the flow of water.

  • Keep the bathroom door closed. Use an outside lock or door knob cover to keep young children out of the bathroom when you are not with them.

  • Keep toilet lids shut and use toilet seat locks.

  • Know the things in your bathroom that are poisons. Look for the words "Caution," "Warning," "Danger" or "Keep Out of Reach of Children" on the box or bottle. Store all dangerous products, including medicines, cosmetics (make-up) and cleaning supplies in a locked cabinet.

The council is working to raise awareness of toddler home injuries after a recent national research poll found that while many parents of toddlers ages 2 to 4 have taken some steps to childproof their home, most have neglected to take key steps to prevent accidents.

  • Less than 1 in 4 have purchased and installed toilet seat latches in at least one bathroom to prevent drowning.

  • Less than half have cut window blind cords into two pieces and placed them high and out of reach of children to prevent choking.

  • Fifty percent have installed safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways to prevent falls.

  • Eighty-three percent have left their toddler unattended at home, for just a few moments or even longer.

For more tips, visit the Home Safety Council's new interactive Web site,

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