Once your baby learns to crawl and walk

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When your baby has learned to crawl and walk, it's important to think about safety in every area of the house. Everyone—family members and visiting friends—must act with care around the house to make sure your toddler doesn't get into a dangerous situation.

Your home

• Place safety covers on all electrical outlets.

• Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on outlets and appliances to prevent shocks.

• Keep cords off the floor or taped down so that your baby can't play with them.

• Turn the water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees so that your child won't be burned if she accidentally turns on the hot water faucet while being bathed.

• Put safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Look for a locking mesh or a steel-framed locking swing gate. (Accordion-type gates were banned in 1985 because of injuries.)

• Put barriers around fireplaces, radiators, hot water pipes, wood-burning stoves, and other hot surfaces when your child is in the home.

• Make sure there are window locks and safety guards on all windows.

• Put safety latches on bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

• Make sure the space between banisters or railings is no wider than 4 inches. If they are wider, install guards or safety netting.


• Check to make sure that your child's high chair is stable. Choose one with widely spread legs to avoid tipping and with a safety latch to prevent your child from raising the tray.

• Keep cribs, playpens, and high chairs away from draperies, drapery cords, and appliance cords.

• Move furniture so that your child can't reach windows or other dangerous areas.

• Pad any furniture that has sharp corners or edges.

Everyday living

• Keep curtain and telephone cords secured so that they won't hang where your child can reach them.

• Never leave small items such as buttons or coins lying around where your child could pick them up and swallow them.

• Beware of toys with small parts. A choke tube can be purchased at major toy stores to measure small toy parts for safety.

Toddlers can choke on nuts, raw vegetables, popcorn, grapes, and other small food items.

• While cooking, turn pot handles inward so they won't hang over the edge of the stove; use back burners when possible.

• See that all handbags, including those of visitors, are out of reach.

• Don't allow children to play alone on a high porch or balcony.

• Don't leave teapots, coffeepots, or other dangerous items on tables with tablecloths. Children can pull the cloth, resulting in serious injury.

• Unplug electrical appliances so your child can't turn them on.

• Remember that appliances like coffeepots, toasters, and electric frying pans remain hot after you turn them off.

• Vacuum often to keep floors clear of dropped items such as pins that your child might try to swallow.

Storing dangerous substances

• Keep the following in locked cabinets:

- plastic bags

- prescription and non-prescription medicines

- alcohol

- cleaning supplies

- mothballs

- paints and related materials

- fertilizers

- cosmetics, including makeup, nail polish, remover, and perfume

• Keep all medicines and cleaning supplies in original containers. Think carefully before using substances outdoors; for example, don't use mothballs around the garden to discourage animals.

• Keep all houseplants out of reach. Water and pool safety

If you have a swimming pool or pond near your house or apartment, it is critical that you take extra care to help avoid accidents.

If your pool or a neighbor's pool is accessible from the house, doors leading to the pool should have self-latching, childproof locks. In most child drowning incidents, the child gained access to a pool from the house.

• A five-foot high fence should enclose the pool on all sides. The gate should have a self-latching, childproof lock.

• Keep rescue devices, rings, and hooks at hand.

• Keep toys and floating objects, which attract children, out of the pool when not in use.

• Never leave an infant or small child alone in or near a pool, lake, beach, or any body of water.

• Always drain wading pools after each use. Be sure to turn them over so they do not fill up with rainwater. A baby can drown in just an inch of water.

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