Home Safe Home: Childproof Your Home Room by Room

Living Room


Living Room

Stephen Campbell

Candles and matches are out of reach. It's possible for a toddler to accidentally light a match and start a fire, no matter how undeveloped her fine motor skills. And if she chews on a candle, she could choke on the wax. Keep candles and matches well out of reach, and try flameless LED candles to mimic the effect of flickering candlelight.

Photo frames are up and away. If your child knocks over or drops a frame, the glass can shatter and cut him, even in a carpeted room. Put frames somewhere well out of reach, mount them on the wall, or replace them with plastic.

TV is mounted. If a child tries to climb on a TV stand, the set can fall on her. Mount your television securely on the wall, if possible. TVs on stands need to be anchored to the wall too: Slip industrial-strength Velcro straps through the air-vent holes and connect them to eye hooks that you screw into the wall.

Fireplace is covered. Install heat-resistant gates to use while the flames are burning. Kids could fall and injure themselves against a sharp or stony hearth, so make sure you buy pads for the edges. Artificial fireplaces often contain small rocks that are a choking hazard -- if yours does, remove them. Two risks in our picture: The doors should be locked when not in use, and the fire-stoking tools should be out of reach.


Power strip is exposed. Your child could easily unplug a cord from the power strip, stick a metal object inside one of the holes, and electrocute himself. Keep power strips hidden behind furniture or, if they must be exposed, buy a power-strip cover.

Small toys are everywhere. Round, cylindrical, or oval objects that are smaller than 1? inches in diameter can completely block the throat of a young child and cause fatal choking. (And little square toys can be a risk too.) So these should not be used by children, probably until they are 5 years old, says Parents advisor Gary Smith, M.D., Dr. P.H., director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio.

Remote control has a missing battery cover. Be especially careful of button batteries -- the kind you find in watches, hearing aids, greeting cards, and some toys -- which are higher voltage than traditional batteries. If your child swallows any type of battery, it can get lodged in the esophagus and cause severe damage, so get him to the E.R. immediately.

Glass coffee table is unprotected. Table edges are treacherous for a little kid learning to walk. "Your toddler can badly cut her forehead and eye area," says UAB study coauthor and clinical psychologist David Schwebel, Ph.D., an expert in unintentional-injury prevention. Call the manufacturer to find out what kind of glass your table is made of. If it's non-tempered, which shatters easily, put it in a room your toddler can't access -- or buy a new tempered-glass top and edge guards.

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