Set Your House Up for Tot Safety
»Why it’s vital: Safety gates, edge bumpers, doorknob covers and the like are just some of the childproofing devices you can purchase that will help prevent injury. But you’ll have to spend time, rather than money, to truly make your house safe for your toddler:
• Set your water heater to 120 degrees F. “When exposed to 140-degree tap water [the average water-heater temperature], a toddler’s skin will sustain third-degree burns,” says Hopkins.
• Place cooking pots on the back burners. If a tot can reach the pot handle, she can also pull it down. Also, do not leave cups of hot liquid on tables or counters for the same reason.
• Move all medications, cosmetics, plants, pesticides and cleaning products to out-of- reach or locked shelves. Every 13 seconds, the U.S. poison centers receive a call; 40 percent of these poisoning incidents involve a child under 3 years old.
• Place fencing around pools, spas and hot tubs. Installation of four-sided isolation fencing could prevent more than half the childhood residential pool drowning and near drowning reported.
• Install a toilet lid lock on every toilet. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 4—and it doesn’t always happen in a pool. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water in toilets, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails and wading pools.
• Give toys the paper-towel-roll test. If a toy or part can drop through a paper-towel roll, it can be a choking hazard and therefore is too small for a young toddler.
• Make sure all smoke alarms are working. “There should be one on every level of the home and one in every sleep area,” says Hopkins. “Twice a year, check that the batteries are working.”
• Remove infant mobiles from the crib. As soon as your tot can stand, she’ll grab for it.