If you’re a new parent (or parent of a relatively new human), you’ve got a million things on your plate. And while you probably prepped before bringing baby home, upping your childproofing game as your kiddo ages might have fallen off. Or, let’s be honest, never made it on there in the first place.
So to help you cover all your bases…and windows…and staircases, we’re breaking down three household risks you may not have thought of. And giving you the inside scoop on how to keep your little one(s) safe.
1. Cut the cords: Make sure your shades are strings-free
One hazard may be hiding in plain sight: corded window coverings, like blinds, shades, and drapes. Dangling cords may be enticing to your little one — especially if they just learned how to climb on the furniture to reach them. But an accidental entanglement can pose a strangulation risk.
The good news? Thanks to updated safety standards from 2018, most coverings available in stores and online these days are either cordless or have short, inaccessible cords. Which makes switching to the safest option a snap.
Psst…October is National Window Covering Safety Month. So if you’re ready to take the preventative plunge, there’s no better time to switch out those shades (or blinds…or drapes). And Hunter Douglas has cordless window coverings…covered. Check ’em out here.
2. Prevent a fatal attraction: Keep your kiddo clear of magnets
We know, we were surprised too. Magnets have been used in children’s toys for decades. But as with anything small enough to be swallowed, they can be a choking hazard. If someone swallows two or more magnets, they can pull together in the digestive system and cause serious damage.
Moral of the story: Go for magnet-free toys come gift-time. And be sure to move any magnets that happen to be hanging around (hiii fridge photos) out of reach.
3. Be a good gatekeeper: Practice safety gate safety
Yep, ironically this safety measure can pose a threat too. (We can hear your groan and we feel ya, but stick with us.) When using a safety gate, there are two main factors to consider: the type of gate, and how it’s mounted.
We’ll cover “type of gate” first. The key features are the size and shape of the openings. Accordion gates with diamond-shaped openings and large V shapes at the top have gaps that a child’s head can fit — or almost fit — in. And crafty kids looking to make their great escape have been known to try going through or over them. Which can end with a trapped head or neck.
TLDR: Avoid accordion gates. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CSPC) recommends picking one with a straight top edge or rigid mesh screen instead. And that if you’re going for a gate with bars or slats, you’ll want to make sure they’re rigid and no more than 6 centimeters apart.
Once you’ve got the right gate, you’ll have to pick where to put it. Pressure-mounted gates (hint: gates that rely on pressure between walls or a doorframe to stay in place) make great dividers between rooms or at the bottom of a staircase. Keyword there being bottom. Since they’re not screwed in, pressure-mounted gates can tip over or shift out of place when leaned on. So when you’re looking to block off the top of the stairs, opt for a hardware-mounted gate (aka the kind you screw into a wall or door frame) to avoid falls.
Bonus move: Check hand-me-downs for product recalls
If you’re shopping new stuff, you should be safe. But if you’ve gotten some pre-loved items from your friends and fam (love that for you, btw), make sure to double check them.
When toddlers start toddling, it opens up a whole lot of amazing possibilities. Aaaand a whole bunch of new hazards. So it’s important to update your childproofing measures as your kiddo(s) grow up. Making sure your window coverings are cordless, removing magnets, and choosing the right kind of gate (then installing it properly) can help keep everyone safe. And you sane. Phew.
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