As nannies and newborn care specialists, we are often faced with the challenge of assisting first-time parents in preparing for their new baby. One of the most commonly asked questions that first-time parents ask their care infant care providers is how to safely child-proof their home.
Here are some excellent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, but as with any and all recommendations, be sure to check in with the hiring family prior to making any changes.
Before or as soon as children begin crawling or walking, parents, nannies, and all caregivers need to take extra steps to make sure harmful items are out of reach, out of sight, and locked up if possible.
Check each room in your home to ensure the items below are stored out of reach of children and/or stored in a locked cabinet with a safety latch.
- All-purpose cleaners
- Dishwashing detergent (liquid, powdered, or single-use packets or tablets)
- Drain openers and toilet bowl cleaners
- Furniture polish
- Laundry detergent (liquid, powdered, or single-use packets or tablets)
Personal + Hygiene Products:
- Nail polish removers
- Perfume and aftershave
Items Stored In Basement/Garage:
Certain houseplants may be harmful. Call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 for a list or description of plants to avoid. You may want to do without houseplants for a while or, at the very least, keep all houseplants out of reach.
Alcohol can be very poisonous to a young child. Remember to empty any unfinished drinks right away.
Keep in mind that children may get into trash containers. Trash containers that contain spoiled food, sharp objects (like discarded razor blades), or batteries should have a child-resistant cover or be kept out of a child’s reach. Purses and other bags that hold potential hazards, including medicines, should be kept out of a child’s reach too.
Most poisonings occur when parents or nannies are home but not paying attention.
- Keep products in original packaging.
- Store in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.
- Install a safety latch—that locks when you close the door—on child accessible cabinets.
Detergent in single-use laundry packets is very concentrated and can be toxic. Even a small amount of detergent can cause serious breathing or stomach problems or eye irritation.
- Never let your children handle or play with the packets. The packets dissolve quickly when in contact with water, wet hands, or saliva.
- Remember to seal the container and store it in a locked cabinet after each use. Make sure the container is out of sight and reach of children.
- Adults should follow the instructions on the product label.
Medicines can be harmful if not taken as directed.
- Purchase and keep medicines in original containers with safety caps.
- Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage.
Small objects can be choking hazards or harmful if swallowed.
- Check your floors regularly for small objects. This is particularly important if someone in the household has a hobby that involves small items or if there are older children who have small items.
- Make sure battery covers are secure on remote controls, key fobs, musical books, and greeting cards. Store devices that contain small button-cell batteries out of reach and sight of children. Button batteries can cause severe injury or death if ingested.
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