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Los Angeles' Largest Babyproofing & Complete Safety Store

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Parent & Caregiver Education:

What Every Family Should Know

Babyproofing: a room by room hands and knees tour.


Did you know that each year:
25,000 kids are treated in hospital Emergency rooms.
5,000 children die in home-related injuries.
Over 600 children drown in toilet bowls.

Is your home safe for baby and playmates?
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/child.html

Toy Hazard Recalls
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html

Table of Contents:

bullet47.gif (244 bytes)Introduction
bullet51.gif (248 bytes)Choking Hazards
bullet48.gif (244 bytes)Off Limit Areas
bullet43.gif (246 bytes)Latch Up Cabinetry
bullet50.gif (238 bytes)Fire Safety
bullet43.gif (246 bytes)Electric Hazards 
bullet50.gif (238 bytes) Cord Management
bullet47.gif (244 bytes) Securing Furniture
bullet51.gif (248 bytes)Padding Corners
bullet47.gif (244 bytes)Bathrooms
bullet51.gif (248 bytes)Secure Perimeter
bullet48.gif (244 bytes)Emergency Preparedness
bullet43.gif (246 bytes)Multi Level  Concerns

 

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Introduction: There are a good many reasons why your home should be babyproofed. Creating a safe and positive environment in which use of the word "no" is kept to an introductory level for the first two years is one. Reducing the liability of entertaining young playmates is yet another. The first two years of a child's life are their most vulnerable. After about two years of age, many children begin to understand the concept of cause and effect.

Until then a child lacks the intellectual capacity to understand the concept of danger. It is this vulnerable period of crawling and toddling at which babyproofing is targeted.

Most of the products are barriers designed in response to mortality statistics for specific household dangers, and most are effective up to two years old. Just before your child begins to crawl is the time to make decisions about which parts of the house they will or possibly will not have access to. Now is the time to set up the barriers that will keep them safe and help keep you sane. 

After your child is moving around and getting into cabinets and such, it will be much harder to keep them out. With this in mind, let us take a hands and knees tour through your house.


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Keeping Your Kids
Safe from 
Poisonous
Plants


Choking Hazards are among the most difficult to guard against. Children are preprogrammed to explore their environment. One of the first ways they do this is with their mouths. Crawl around your house and,  while you're down there,  look at every thing you can reach (about 3.5 feet off the ground). Ask yourself three questions about each item: 1) Is it breakable? 2) Do you cherish it? And 3) Is the item a specific hazard to your child; i.e., choking, cutting or poisoning? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, move the item out of your child's reach. It is a temporary adjustment that will save you grief later on. Some commonly overlooked choking hazards include rocks or wood chips around potted plants, pieces of bark from firewood, dried flowers, potpourri, pine cones and coins. Use a toilet paper tube - if an object fits through, then it is a potential choking hazard. 

Older siblings often have toys with small pieces, which are a choking hazard for younger children. Make the toilet paper tube an arts and crafts project. Have the older sibling personalize and decorate it and then tell them that it is their tool to help keep their little brother or sister safe.

       
   
 

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Off Limit Areas: A closed door is not a barrier to a toddler, and knobs and latches within their reach will not keep them out of a room. Offices, laundry rooms, pantries, hot water closets and other areas difficult to babyproof can be made off limits to children. Use gates to separate areas of the house and/or lock doors by installing a latch high out of reach, or use a keyed deadbolt (key removed of course). Door latches include hook and eyes, slide bolts, bifold door locks, overhead door locks, wing latches and cable locks. (Many of these latches work well on windows too.) All doorstops with removable rubber tips should be removed or replaced with solid stops.

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Latch the Cabinetry: Electronics, kitchen cutlery, dishware and small items should be in drawers or cabinets with childproof latches. Moving cleansers and chemicals out of reach is best. Drawers that are stacked one atop the other should be latched as they can be pulled out and used as a ladder to climb onto the counter. Using the dishwasher latch is good practice as knives and glassware are hazards and automatic dishwasher detergent is caustic and does permanent soft tissue damage. [Note: All latches and babyproofing products in general are designed to work until the child is about two years old. Reconditioning yourself and all others in the house to keep all latch operation a secret will make them last longer. This is particularly true with the stove and dishwasher latches that have no "trick" to them. Don't let your children see you operate these latches and they won't learn to use them.]

   
       
   
       

Fire Safety: Keep an "ABC" rated fire extinguisher in your kitchen and install a smoke alarm just outside the cooking area. Use dual sensor smoke alarms in bedrooms and in common hallways. Carbon monoxide detectors protect the family from possible gas stove and heater emissions. Have a fire escape ladder for two and three story structures. Develop an evacuation plan with two escape routes from every room in the house and practice it. Check out our Fire Safety tips.

   
       
   
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Electric Hazards: Includes all exposed outlets within your child's reach. Inexpensive plugs work well when both outlet receptacles are not being used. Instead of adapters use extensions cords and tuck the outlet end of all extension cords behind a heavy piece of furniture. Slide covers replace the cover plate on your wall outlets. The slide cover has a spring-loaded cover which snaps closed when a plug is removed and covers the outlet holes. A box cover is a box that fits over the plugs in an outlet and keeps children from pulling the plugs out of the wall. Both slide and box covers can be used in conjunction with plastic cord conduit,  which can be attached along the base board and up the walls to enclose all loose running power cords. Surge protector power strip outlets can be enclosed in power strip box covers. Use a combination of all of the above to close off all outlet openings to the electrical system. You should have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle in any outlet near a sink, toilet or other source of water. Even so it is wise to beware of and unplug any appliances near water.

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Cord Management: Shorten or cleat up all hanging blind cords. Any cords long enough to make a noose can be gathered and shortened with cable ties. Help keep appliances and lamps from being pulled off of tables onto a cruising toddler's head by lashing the electric cords to a table leg.

   
       
   
       

Securing Furniture and More: Open bookcases are an invitation for toddlers to climb, especially when attractive objects are located on higher shelves. Secure entertainment centers, bookcases, artwork or any other unstable pieces to the frame of your house to help keep them in place. This is especially important in the nursery where children are more likely to have time to climb on the pieces. In earthquake country, secure TVs, computers and other items to desks, shelves and or the frame of the house. Electronics are best kept locked in a cabinet or moved up out of reach when possible. Otherwise VCR locks and TV/VCR guards can help.

   
       
   
       

Padding the Corners: Low tables, raised hearths and other areas can have sharp edges and corners. Foam edging, corner guards and removable coffee table pads (toddler shields) can help, or simply pile up pillows and blankets. Securing doors open (see Securing the Perimeter) or using top doorstops will help keep little ones from painfully slamming hands and fingers.

   
       
   
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Bathrooms: Make sure all outlets have a Ground Fault Circuit interrupter or Outlet Slide Covers. Disconnect electric wall heaters. Lower thermostat setting on Hot Water Heater to 120 degrees when possible or install a scald protector. Install toilet lid locks to prevent playing and or drowning in toilet. Get a good quality machine washable bath mat and a spout cover for the bathtub. Note: Every year more children drown in toilet bowls than swimming pools.

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Secure the Perimeter: Window and door screens are not barriers to a toddler. Double hung windows and sliding windows and doors can be locked open at four inches, enough for ventilation but not enough to escape. Exterior doors need a keyed dead bolt or high latch of some kind. For more examples of door treatments see the "Off Limit Areas" section above. Pay particular attention to doors that access pools. Wireless door alarms can be installed on doors or gates and sound an alarm when the door is opened. Pools should be surrounded by a fence and ideally should have a self closing gate.

   
       
   
       

Emergency Preparation: Emergency Night Lights turn on automatically when power goes out. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit and become certified for infant CPR. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers including police and fire departments, poison control and your pediatrician. In earthquake or tornado country, check out our disaster preparation list.

   
       
   
       

Multi Level Concerns: Use gates (not pressure gates) at the top and bottom of staircases. Plexiglas or other treatments will be needed on railings and balconies accessible to children with gaps greater than four inches between rails. Upstairs halls and balconies should not have anything (furniture, planters, etc.) that a child could use to climb up and over a railing. A good quality escape ladder could save you and your family's life in a fire.

   
       
   
 

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Raising children is a big adventure. While babyproofing does not take the place of supervision, following these guidelines and addressing the hazards around your house can help minimize the risk of injury to your children and their playmates, create a more positive play environment and give you more peace of mind.

 

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