It probably seems like ages since you did a grand childproofing tour of your house, methodically plugging wall sockets, putting gates up at the stairs, and removing glass tabletops and breakable objects. Now that your 2-year-old is leaving babyhood behind, you might be tempted to ease some of the precautions. Don't! In fact, you may actually need to add some new measures to your childproofing list to stay one step ahead of your active toddler.
The kitchen, for starters, can become a vastly more dangerous place. Suddenly, those little hands can reach higher than you realized -- for the knobs on the stove, the handle of a frying pan, a percolating coffeepot. To prevent burns, cook on the stove's back burners whenever possible, and keep handles of pots and pans turned away from the counter's edge. Don't set hot food on the table anywhere near your toddler, and store matches and cigarette lighters where he can't possibly reach them.
Many kids this age are mesmerized by the cooking process. If your budding chef wants to see what's simmering, hold him up for a quick peek, but only at a safe distance and not if the food has the potential to spatter hot liquid. Use this opportunity -- and every available one -- to explain that anything on the stove is hot and is never to be touched.