Toddler - Home safety checklist

Parentree-editors 2008-08-14 13:00:58

These tips are general guidelines that Indian parents can use to help you protect your toddlers. However, please remember that there is no replacement for the constant care and attention that you have to devote to your child.

  • Use bedding that is firm for the toddler. Opt for natural materials like cotton.
  • Don't buy clothes which have choking hazards like buttons, beads etc. The toddler may loosen these and put them in her mouth.
  • Walk through your home and ensure that there are no small items at the floor level, which toddlers can knock over.
  • Use a carseat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing it. Have someone double-check your installation. Re-check the carseat every time your toddler will be put in it.
  • This also applies to items placed on short tables or stools, aquariums, fish tanks, bookshelves etc. Your toddler may bump into these and knock over the item on himself and get hurt.
  • Be very careful about leaving things on tables, desks, chairs and counter tops after using them. Toddlers will find the object and some creative uses (which is good) and dangerous uses (which is bad) for the object. These objects include knives, scissors, matchsticks etc.
  • Look at all your furniture and large objects in your home and check them for sharp edges and corners. Toddlers run around a lot and since they have not learned to "look before they run", they may run into these edges and hurt themselves.
  • Seal all open electrical sockets/plugs within the toddler's reach. Ensure that all wires are plugged into the plug points securely.
  • Pay special attention to floor standing or pedestal fans. The grill on the fan must have gaps small enough that the toddler cannot insert a finger into it. Also make sure pedestal fans cannot be knocked over by the toddler.
  • Be careful with curtains that reach the floor. Ensure these are well secured or the toddler may pull them down and bring the rod and the curtain crashing down.
  • If you have blinds which have drawstrings, secure these at a higher level so that the toddler does not strangle on these.
  • Be careful with your stairs. If possible install safety gates at the top and bottom of your stairs.
  • Some of us have grills (iron, cement etc.) on stairs and balconies. Ensure that the crevices are too small for a toddler to pass through.
  • In your balconies, do not leave chairs or any other objects that a toddler can climb on to look over the railing.
  • If you have a washing machine or dryer, keep it powered off when not in use. Toddlers can climb into or crawl into these, especially front loading ones.
  • Keep microwaves out of reach of toddlers.
  • If you have a window with no grill, keep that window doubly locked. Do not put any furniture near it, that the toddler can climb on and reach the window.
  • Put away all medicines and household cleaning products, matches, lighters, mosquito repellents,  behind locked doors. And keep them there for the next few years !
  • Do not use pesticides in your garden and on your plants.
  • If you have any plants in an open area (balcony for example), make sure they are out of reach of the toddler.
  • Don't use harsh cleaning agents to mop the floor.
  • Remove large stuffed toys from around the toddler when he goes to sleep.
  • Don't smoke in the house and especially never around the toddler. It can affect the toddler and result in respiratory illnesses when young.
  • Don't use harsh detergents to clean the toddler's clothes and sheets.
  • Ensure that no small parts of toys are near the toddler as these are a choking hazard. Toddlers often put things in their mouths.
  • Lock away your batteries and ensure that the battery covers in your baby's toys are well secured. Toddlers may put batteries in their mouth and burn themselves.
  • Don't leave the toddler on an elevated surface like a table, without supervision.
  • If you use a high-chair, ensure that the toddler is securely fastened and the tray is locked into place.
  • When giving your toddler a bath, never let him out of your sight.
  • Always ensure that the toddler is sleeping on her back unless your doctor has recommended otherwise. 
  • Don't let anyone throw the toddler up and down. It may cause injury to the brain.
  • Be careful when consuming hot liquids like coffee, tea around the toddler. Keep the cups away from the toddler's reach.
  • Don't hold your toddler or let him play near you in the kitchen when you are cooking. There is risk of burns from hot water, food and oil.
  • When cooking, try to use the burners in the back of the stove first. Also, don't let the long handles of your vessels stick out at the front of the stove. Toddlers can reach these handles and tip the vessel over.
  • Meet your doctor/paediatrician regularly and ensure that your toddler gets her vaccines at the right times.
  • Do not put the pacifiers in a string around the toddler's neck. If the toddler accidentally twists, the string may entangle itself around her neck and choke her. This applies to jewellery also.
  • Don't leave the toddler alone with any pets.
  • Mosquito nets may become a hazard as toddlers can get entangled in them and smother. This may occur especially after waking up from a nap. Ensure there is constant adult supervision when a net is used.
  • Your toddler will be a great explorer. Keep drawers, kitchen cabinets, properly secured so that things don't come tumbling out on your toddler.
  • Keep your bathroom doors closed to prevent toddlers from exploring them.
  • If you are giving the toddler a warm bath, check the temperature of the water carefully.

Above all, keep an eye on your toddler all the time. Or have someone you trust do it. No safety measure can replace that, though at this age, it becomes hard as the toddler's mobility can easily outpace yours.


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