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Childproofing Your Home
Tips and Tactics for Keeping Children Safe

Research by the Content Manager
Any home where a young child spends time needs to be childproofed. If you're
a parent or caregiver, you should spend some time surveying your home, room
by room, from a child's point of view. Be sure to correct any safety
hazards immediately; accidental injury is the leading cause of death among
children ages 14 and younger.

Make it a habit to perform periodic safety checks as your child gets older.
Something that isn't hazardous to an infant can become quite dangerous when
she's an active toddler. The following tips should help you get started.

Baby's room: Make sure that your changing table has a guard rail and safety
strap. Inspect the crib carefully, looking for hazards such as slats placed
too widely apart (more than 2 3/8 inches apart), decorative cutouts and
corner posts. Remove all plastic wrapping from the mattress and make sure it
fits snugly into the crib with no gaps. If you've installed a mobile,
remove it when your child learns how to stand. When she moves to a bed, she
may need a guardrail to prevent falls.

Kitchen: Move all dangerous household products to a high cabinet, or at
least buy a "kiddie lock" that refastens automatically every time you close
the cabinet door. Post the Poison Control Center number near your telephone
and keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac at home to treat poisoning. Also,
store sharp kitchen tools and plastic bags in a locked drawer, separate from
"safe" eating utensils. Keep appliance cords out of reach and always turn
pot handles inward on the stove so they can't be reached by toddlers.

Bathroom: Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps, preferably in a
locked cabinet, and store all electrical appliances in another room. To
prevent scalding, don't set your hot water heater higher than 120 degrees
Fahrenheit. Never leave her unattended in or near the bath because a child
can drown in a few inches of water.

Throughout the house: Cover all unused electrical outlets with plastic
guards. Check window treatments for cords that might be dangerous, and
place safety guards on windows above the first floor. Also, remember to use
safety gates across the tops and bottoms of staircases. Keep objects and
foods that can cause choking, such as coins, balloons, small toy parts,
peanuts, and hard candies, out of children's reach.

For a more detailed checklist, consult a child rearing handbook such as the
American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for Your Child and Young Child, or
perform an Internet keyword search for "childproofing" or "child safety."

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