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How to accident-proof your home for young children

Follow these tips to protect your children from safety hazards in your home like burns, falls and toxic chemicals.

If you’ve got little tykes at home, they’re probably no strangers to bumps and bruises. Young children are active and curious — but sometimes that curiosity gets them into trouble. 

Although you can’t always be your children’s protector when they’re at school or with a babysitter, one place where you have more control over their safety is in your home. This is important since your child probably spends a big part of their day exploring in the house.

No matter how accident-proof your home may be, a few clumsy moments are bound to happen. But more serious hazards like toxic chemicals, hot appliances and electrical hazards should be safeguarded from your kids.

Here’s how to accident-proof your home and keep your children safe from common safety hazards like electricity, burns, falls and toxic chemicals.

1. Protect them from toxic chemicals and pills

Accidental poisoning was the leading cause of death in 2017. Anything from cleaning chemicals to medications could be dangerous for your little one, which is why it’s so important to store potentially dangerous items where your child can’t accidentally swallow them.

How to protect your child from toxins in your home:

  • Get rid of old chemicals.
  • Store all toxic cleaning chemicals where your child can’t reach them.
  • Don’t reuse old food containers to store toxic chemicals — it could confuse your child (or you!).
  • Clearly label all chemicals to avoid confusion or accidental swallowing.
  • Never mix ammonia and bleach when cleaning (it creates a deadly gas).
  • Make sure you tightly place childproof caps back on all medicines and prescriptions.
  • Follow directions closely when giving your child cold or flu medicine.

2. Freeze them from falls

Tripping and falling are common for children new to walking. But trips and falls can become dangerous — especially when there are stairs or other dangerous items nearby. 

Tripping and slipping are the leading causes of falls in the home. Luckily, most tripping and slipping hazards in your house are easily preventable.

How to prevent trips and falls in your home:

  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Make sure your stairs stay free of shoes, toys and other things someone could trip on.
  • Secure your throw rugs with non-slip rug pads.
  • Keep power cords bundled and stored near the outlet or under furniture.
  • Try to route all electronics close to the outlet.
  • Keep your floor clutter-free.

3. Block them from burns

From candles to hot water to the stove top, your house is filled with burning hazards for little fingers. 

Beyond teaching your tyke basic fire and appliance safety, there are ways you can keep your child safer from burns in your house.

How to prevent burns in your home:

  • Put candles, matches and lighters out of reach of young children.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher in your home, and make sure it isn’t expired.
  • Never leave a hot pan or pot of water unattended on the stove.
  • Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent scalds.
  • If cooking oil ignites, use a fire extinguisher — don’t try to put it out with water.

4. Control chocking hazards

Remember that part earlier about your child’s natural curiosity? Sometimes that curiosity takes shape in the form of your child sticking things in their mouth that they shouldn’t. 

Choking hazards are a concern for every parent, especially when you’ve got babies and toddlers. But beyond keeping small objects out of your child’s hands and mouths, there are more ways to protect your child from choking and suffocation hazards in your home.

How to prevent choking hazards in your home:

  • Keep cords, strings and ropes stored out of reach from your child.
  • Store plastic bags where your kids can’t access them (they could present a suffocation hazard).
  • Remove small or sharp pieces from toys so your child can’t swallow them.
  • Keep an eye out for other small items around the house and put them away.

5. Wall off water-related injuries 

Water keeps you and your family nourished and clean — but it can also be a safety hazard for your young kids.

How to prevent water-related injuries in your home:

  • Clean up all spills quickly.
  • Never leave your young children alone in the bathtub.
  • Keep toilet lids closed when you have toddlers and babies.
  • Keep electronic devices away from sinks, showers, toilets and bathtubs.
  • If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, always keep the lid on when they’re not in use.
  • Keep flotation devices in the pool at all times, and never let your young children swim alone.

Bumps and bruises are a natural part of your child’s growth, but your home should be a safe place to cushion their falls. Staying aware of potential dangers can keep your whole family safe from preventable boo-boos.

But no matter how careful you are as a parent, accidents can happen at any time. From broken bones to concussions, accident insurance can be a financial safety net when your active tyke needs treatment.

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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