Childproofing Checklist: 20 Tips from an ER Doctor
An ER Doctor's Childproofing Checklist
June 9, 2021

An ER Doctor's Childproofing Checklist

An ER Doctor's Childproofing Checklist .
An ER Doctor's Childproofing Checklist

Written Dr. Seran Kim, board-certified Emergency Physician

Newborn babies may seem immobile, all swaddled and sleepy. But they will soon be on the move as early as 6 months (it happens fast). To prepare for this, be sure to prep your home well in advance to help prevent household-related injuries.

Infants and children younger than 5 years old account for over 40% of pediatric Emergency Department (ED) visits. Six of the top 10 reasons for ED visits are for injuries such as bruises, open wounds, sprains and strains, broken arms and other injuries due to external causes.

Many of these common injuries occur in and around the home, so don’t forget to check all of these precautions off your list:

  1. Cover all unused electrical outlets with plugs, to prevent electrical shock.
  2. Keep all cords out of reach, including electrical cords (which can cause oral electrical burns if baby chews on the wire), as well as cords for blinds (which can be a strangling risk).
  3. Secure TVs, bookshelves and furniture, which are significant topple risks.
  4. Use protective padding on corners of coffee tables or any furniture with sharp edges.
  5. Cover your fireplace with an appropriate gate, to prevent flame injuries.
  6. Use safety gates on the top and bottom of stairs.
  7. Use safety latches on lower cabinets and doors.
  8. Lock medicine cabinets or boxes.
  9. Lock cleaning supplies. Don’t forget to keep bleach and laundry pods (which may look like candy) out of reach as well!
  10. Keep house plants out of reach. Some plants (which thankfully do not taste good) may be extremely poisonous if ingested in larger quantities.
  11. Use window guards and/or move furniture away from windows (which could provide climbing access to toddlers). Windows shouldn’t open more than 4 inches.
  12. Lock away any guns separately from ammunition, or better yet, remove any guns/firearms from the house.
  13. Check for chipping paint, especially in older homes, which can be a lead poisoning risk.
  14. Use stove knob covers. Be sure to also turn pot handles backwards when in use, and use rear burners.
  15. Cover radiators and heating vents to prevent burn injuries.
  16. Apply door pinch guards to all doors, to prevent finger crush injuries.
  17. Use toilet locks, as even 1 inch of water can pose a drowning risk.
  18. Lock your liquor cabinet.
  19. Lock away batteries, especially button batteries, which can lead to serious injury or death, if placed in the nose/ears, or ingested.
  20. Avoid games with marbles or small balls or beads, or any small part smaller than 1 3/4 inches, which can pose as common choking hazards.

Remember, prevention is the best safeguard. Thoroughly baby-proofing your home helps prevent accidental injuries and helps you avoid visits to the emergency department.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/parents/infants/safety.html https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm

Factually reviewed by Dr. Seran Kim, board-certified Emergency Physician, on June 9, 2021.


Dr. Seran Kim is a board-certified Emergency Physician, cancer survivor and mom to three rambunctious boys, and she’s one of the doctors who helped develop the Babylist First Aid Kit. When not working, she can be found hiking, reading or embarrassing her kids with her hip-hop dancing. She has a weakness for milk chocolate and succulent plants that don’t need regular watering. She cannot live without GooGone and her power drill. She is adamant about helmets and seatbelts—and coffee. She believes the key to parenting survival is surrounding yourself with other families and raising kids as a village.

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