Marines

Childproofing your home

Parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children from stranger abduction and violence, but many overlook one of the biggest threats to their children's safety and well-being — their own home. Experts say that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by a stranger's violence. About 2.3 million children are accidentally injured every year and more than 2,500 are killed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's why it's so important to carefully childproof your home.

Gadgets galore

You'll find all kinds of gadgets for sale that can really help your home childproofing efforts. Keep in mind that gadgets are no substitute for your eyes and ears. Outlet covers, baby gates, cabinet locks etc.

Scope out the Area

The most effective way to ensure your baby's safety is to take a baby's-eye view of your home. Get down on your hands and knees and see how things look from down there.

What's within reach? What looks tempting? Where would you go if you could crawl, toddle, or walk?

This will help you figure out which cupboards, drawers, and other spaces your child might get into. As he starts walking and climbing, you'll have to reevaluate again, looking higher each time.

Carefully lock up or stow away every potential poison or other hazard, including cleaning products, medicines, vitamins, and knives. Use gates to limit your child's access to areas of your home that might contain dangerous items. Keep an eye out for tiny objects that your baby could choke on. Pick up any coins, marbles, beads, paper clips, and other small objects you find on low tables or the floor or in low drawers or cupboards.

Use caution with furniture and fixtures

Large or heavy bookcases, dressers, and appliances are real hazards: Bolt whatever you can to the wall. Push items like televisions back from the edge of the furniture they're on or move them out of reach, and then secure them, too. Always put heavier items on bottom shelves and in bottom drawers to make furniture less top-heavy.

Check ties on blinds and curtains

Window blinds pose a particular hazard because a baby's neck could become trapped in the cords that raise the blinds or run through the slats. A child can become entangled in a looped window cord and strangle in a matter of minutes. Use cordless window coverings wherever possible, and avoid placing your baby's crib near a window. If you have curtains with pull cords in your home, either cut off the pull cords or use cord shorteners or wind-ups to keep them out of reach. You can also replace a cord loop with a safety tassel.

    Marine Corps Installations Command, MCICOM