Along with blogging and speaking about safety issues as The Safety Mom, I’m the founder of Safety Mom Solutions, a baby proofing company servicing Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Over the past twelve years, we’ve worked with hundreds of families to make their homes safer for curious toddlers.
While there are definitely times it’s better to hire a baby proofing company, there are many smaller projects that parents can do themselves. Here are a few do-it-yourself home safety makeovers that not only are easy to do, but could potentially prevent a traumatic injury.
Window Wedges – In order to prevent a child from falling out of an open window, it’s important to leave it open no more than 4”. And remember, a screen will easily give way. Window Wedges are easy to install onto double hung or sliding windows with heavy-duty Velcro and can be positioned to allow windows to open only a certain amount. It’s also a great theft deterrent for someone trying to break into your home through an unsecured window. With the Window Wedge in place, the harder they push on the window, the tighter the Window Wedge engages.
Cord blind ties and electric cord concealers – In order to prevent strangulation, cord blind ties and electrical cords should be carefully secured. For electrical cords, gather them together and run them through a cord concealer. For window blinds, you can either gather them in a window blind cord wind-up or attach a window cord cleat to your wall.
Scald guards – The majority of burn accidents to babies and toddlers don’t happen from fire but rather scalding water. If you have access to your water heater it should be set to 120° F. If you don’t have access to your water heater, install scald guards on your faucets which will automatically prevent the water from getting hotter than the specified temperature.
Tamper resistant receptacles – About 2,400 children suffer electrical shock injuries ever year. Small outlet plugs are not appropriate to use as toddlers can often try to pry them out, posing even greater danger. In 2008 the National Electrical Code was revised to require all newly constructed homes to have tamper resistant receptacles. These outlets require simultaneous contact with both prongs of an electrical device to access the electricity. What that means if a toddler were to attempt to insert something into one prong of the outlet, there would be no contact with the electricity. If you are in older construction, it’s easy to switch out the existing outlets with tamper resistant receptacles.
Toilet locks – I’m often questioned as to why toilet locks are necessary. Toddlers can drown in less than 2” of water. Especially when they’re potty training, they will throw a toy or another object into the toilet and try to reach in to get it. I prefer toilet locks that automatically lock in place when you shut the lid. They are installed on the back of the seat and require a parent to push down on a button and move the arm in order to open the lid.