Your child's early attempts at walking and climbing are inherently dangerous. But factor in your home's sharp table corners, electrical cords, and toxic cleaners, and the potential for disaster is everywhere. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 2.5 million kids are injured or killed in their homes each year. "One-year olds are naturally curious and explore by mouthing, touching, looking, hearing, and smelling," says Michal S. Nissenbaum, Ph.D., a postdoctoral psychology fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center, in Kansas City. "Though their new motor skills allow them to maneuver about the house, toddlers still lack the common sense to know what's harmful and dangerous." Follow our room-by-room checklist to reduce your child's risk of injury.
- Keep cosmetics, razors, grooming scissors, and medicines (even vitamins) in a locked cabinet or drawer.
- Put a latch on the toilet seat and keep it closed. Small children can drown in just a few inches of water.
- Make sure the floors and lower shelves of your linen closet are free of small items that your toddler might choke on, such as cotton balls or swabs, suggests Kate Kelly, author of Living Safe in an Unsafe World (New American Library, 2000).