The Small Stuff
You've covered the big tasks; now it's time to attend to the small details. Go through each room and take the following measures:
- Place safety gates at the entrance or exit to any room that's off-limits to baby, such as a formal living room.
- Make sure all of your houseplants are nontoxic varieties. Some plants are extremely poisonous.
- Empty ashtrays promptly and keep matches, lighters, and tobacco products locked away from baby.
- Vacuum regularly to suck up loose change, paper clips, or any small item that can cause choking.
- Place locks on liquor cabinets; alcohol can be poisonous to young children.
- Cover radiators and heating vents to prevent burns.
- Check your doorstops; many have removable caps that pose a choking hazard.
- Keep toy batteries safely stowed away; they can leak acid, causing serious burns.
- Clear cosmetics and shampoos off sink and tub ledges, as they pose a poison risk.
According to a recent study conducted by the Home Safety Council, children under 1 have the highest rates of unintentional home-injury death of all children under 15, with choking and suffocation topping the list as the biggest hazards. For more information on keeping your home a safe haven for your child, visit homesafetycouncil.org for tips, checklists, and more.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2004. Updated 2010.