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An ER Doctor's Childproofing Checklist
Updated on
September 8, 2023

An ER Doctor's Childproofing Checklist

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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’ll be on the move as early as six months—and it happens fast. So be sure to prep your home well in advance to help prevent household-related injuries.

Infants and children younger than five 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 safety gate to prevent flame injuries.
  6. Use baby gates on the top and bottom of stairs.
  7. Secure heavy furniture like bookshelves and dressers to the walls.
  8. Use safety latches on lower cabinets and doors.
  9. Lock medicine cabinets or boxes.
  10. Lock cleaning supplies. Don’t forget to keep dangerous items bleach and laundry pods (which may look like candy) out of reach as well!
  11. Keep house plants out of reach. Some plants (which thankfully do not taste good) may be extremely poisonous if ingested in larger quantities.
  12. Use window guards and/or move furniture away from windows (which could provide climbing access to toddlers). Windows shouldn’t open more than four inches.
  13. Lock away any guns separately from ammunition, or better yet, remove any guns/firearms from the house.
  14. Check for chipping paint, especially in older homes, which can be a lead poisoning risk.
  15. Use stove knob covers. Be sure to also turn pot handles backward when in use and use rear burners. Also, be careful when eating hot food (like soup) around your baby as accidental spills can cause serious burns.
  16. Cover radiators and heating vents to prevent burn injuries. You may also want to lower the temperature of your water heater.
  17. Apply door pinch guards to all doors to prevent finger crush injuries.
  18. Use toilet locks, as even one inch of water can pose a drowning risk.
  19. Lock your liquor cabinet.
  20. Lock away batteries, especially button batteries, which can lead to serious injury or death if placed in the nose/ears or ingested.
  21. Avoid games with marbles or small balls or beads, or any small part smaller than one and three-quarter inches, which are 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.

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

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