What does it take for a home to be made safe for a toddler? Whether your baby is just growing up, you’re adopting, or you’re having friends over with their toddler, you may be concerned about how safe your home is for a toddler to move around in.
Here are a few tips to make your home toddler proof.
Secure Heavy Items
Is there anything around the house that is heavy enough to hurt a small child that they could pull down on themselves or knock over? Those are the items you’ll want to secure to make sure that the toddler doesn’t accidentally damage themselves. Small children like to hold onto things to pull themselves up, and they may bump into stuff as they run around the house. One of the big culprits of toddler injuries are bookcases that are not very stable. You may want to secure the bookcase to the wall or make sure bookcases and other items are not top heavy. Adding a strap or fastener near the top of large items in the home can be a great way to keep toddlers from knocking them down on themselves.
Clean the House
Is your home clean enough for a toddler? Toddlers love to put things in their mouth, even items that are not food. If you want to make sure that small children won’t be finding something from your floor to snack on, then you want to keep a clean home. This may mean doing extra cleaning yourself or hiring professional cleaners from time to time for a good spring clean. If you can keep the floors swept and mopped and the countertops clean, then toddlers in your home won’t find as much to put in their mouths. You’ll also want to vacuum thoroughly so that your carpets are cleaned, and make sure you’re cleaning underneath appliances and furniture as well. Those little hands can get in areas you might not see or notice. Regular, thorough cleaning will help keep your home safer and give you less to worry about when toddlers are present. Also make sure that you are cleaning inside the couch and other areas where their little hands may reach and find things to grab and chew on.
Put Shoes Out of the Way
Toddlers may play with shoes and even try to put them in their mouths. If you want to keep that from happening, you may want to secure a place to store your shoes. I suggest a storage closet or an elevated shoe rack. Consider putting all the shoes in a separate room for storage when toddlers come over, if there aren’t any living in your house.
Secure the Litterbox
A lot of parents have a nightmare where their toddlers get into the dog or cat’s litter box. You want to put the litter box in a place where your inside pets can reach it but your toddler can’t. One way to do that is to place the cat’s litter box up on a shelf. For dogs litter boxes, you may want to put them on the other side of a doggy door. You could also place litter boxes inside a fenced in area that the toddler cannot access but the pets can. You can also consider putting a cover on the litter box temporarily while the toddler is visiting. Well trained pets will be able to let you know when they need to use the litter box or simply wait to use it until you’ve uncovered it.
Don’t forget about them, though.
Give Toddlers Something to Do
Sometimes, one of the best things you can do to keep toddlers away from things they shouldn’t mess with is to keep them occupied. Set out toys for them to play with or put them in a fun room to spend time in. If you can keep them engaged, there will be little risk that they’ll get into trouble in some other part of the house or mess with something that they should not. It’s also a good idea to keep the toddler under supervision the entire time they’re in your home or at least check in on them every few minutes. It doesn’t take long for toddlers to move from one activity to another, and you cannot count on them to stay occupied with a single thing for hours.
Lock Dangerous Drawers and Cupboards
Another really helpful way to keep toddlers safe in the home is to add locks to specific drawers and cupboards throughout the home. This is especially important in the kitchen, where there are dangerous chemicals, sharp knives, and other things that could hurt small children. You can use childproof locks that are simple enough for you to open but that toddlers probably won’t be able to figure out. Check all throughout the house for potentially dangerous cupboards and drawers that the toddler could reach that would need to be secured. It’s a good idea to check for these kind of trouble areas periodically, as you buy new things and change around where items go in your home.
As you toddler-proof your home, keep in mind how high the toddler could reach, if they’re able to use a stool to climb up to higher areas, and what kind of trouble they could get themselves into. Take into account the growth of the toddler and their increasing strength and dexterity, as toddlers will become more capable over time and able to access some things that they could not before.
Change Up Storage Locations
What kind of items in your home can you simply put out of the toddler’s reach? There may be cleaning chemicals, utensils, sharp objects, heavy objects, or other items that toddlers should not be messing with that can simply be moved to another spot. It’s a good idea to put some things out of their reach so that you no longer have to worry about the toddler interacting with them.
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