Here’s a room-to-room guide to create a toddler-friendly, toddler-safe environment.
Living room/family room:
- Cover electrical outlets.
- Secure lamp cords so lamps can’t be pulled down.
- Anchor floor lamps, or remove them.
- Cover controls on the television, stereo, VCR.
- Cushion sharp corners on coffee tables, piano benches, hearths.
- Display breakables out of baby’s reach, or put them away for a few years.
- Reorganize bookshelves (toddlers love to empty these, tearing covers and dust jackets).
- Move plants
Dining room/eating area:
- Push chairs all the way up to the table to prevent climbing.
- Install latches on drawers and cabinets holding breakable dishes.
- Push items on the tabletop to the center.
- Fold tablecloth corners under and up, out of grabbing distance.
- Keep medicines, razors, pins, mouthwash, cosmetics, perfume, nail polish and remover, scissors, and other dangerous objects out of reach.
- Keep medicine cabinets latched.
- Pad tub faucets.
- Place a non-skid mat in the tub.
- Use rugs with non-skid backings.
- Keep the toilet seat down and latched.
- Empty the tub after use. Don’t leave children unattended in tub.
- Use plastic, not glass or ceramic, cups and soap dishes.
- Keep the bathroom door shut.
- Store knives out of reach.
- Unplug small appliances. Don’t leave cords dangling.
- Store cleansers, solvents, bleaches, dishwasher detergent and other poisons out of baby’s reach in a latched cabinet.
- Cook on the back burners, and turn pot handles toward the back.
- Cover the stove controls, or remove them.
- Store breakables, things your baby can choke on, and other dangerous objects out of reach. Remember, that toddlers can climb onto kitchen counters.
- Use unbreakable dishes when your baby is around.
- Store plastic bags and plastic grocery bags out of reach.
- Hold hot drinks where your baby can’t grab them, and keep them away from the edge of tables or counters.
Windows and doors:
- Keep sliding glass doors closed, or keep the screens locked.
- Place decals at toddler eye level on glass doors.
- Lock windows and be sure the screens are secure.
- Shorten the cords on draperies and blinds to get them up out of children’s reach.
- Use netting to enclose the rails on balconies or porches so that your baby can’t squeeze through.
- Don’t forget the garage, with paint thinners, antifreeze, gardening tools, supplies, insecticides, and other hazards.
- Use a safety gate at the top and bottom of the stairs, especially if they are steep and unpadded. Some parents choose, if their stairs are carpeted and not too steep, to let the baby learn to crawl up and back down and keep a close eye on the ungated stairs for the few weeks it takes baby to learn.
- You can move an adjustable safety gate from doorway to doorway to keep your child away from temptation when you can’t be right on his heels to supervise. Being able to block off the kitchen, for example, can save a lot of wear on Mom and Dad—you may not want the Tupperware cupboard emptied at every opportunity. It’s safe, but sometimes mom can only take so much.