General Home Safety
Childproofing your home will help to create a safer environment. To childproof your home, remove as many dangers to your toddler as possible. To begin, get right down on the floor and crawl around on your hands and knees. At that level, you will be able to see exactly what your toddler may be interested in and what may be dangerous. Check for small objects that your toddler could swallow or choke on. See if there are any cords that your toddler could get caught in.
Are there any large, heavy, or sharp items that your toddler could pull down? Check for any poisonous or harmful objects your toddler could reach or open.
If you think your toddler has been poisoned:
- Call the BC Poison Control Centre immediately: 1‑800‑567‑8911.
- Have the following information ready:
- the name of the substance you think may be poisonous
- the amount your toddler took
- the time your toddler took it
- Follow the first aid instructions on the label of any product taken.
- Get medical help by going to your hospital emergency. Take the container and label with you. Call 9-1-1 if you don’t have a way to get to the hospital quickly
General Home Safety Tips
- Keep emergency numbers by each phone in your house. Include 9-1-1 and the numbers for Poison Control and your doctor. You may know these numbers, but other caregivers may not.
- Know basic first aid. It is important to know what to do if someone is choking. If a child stops breathing, you need to know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Contact your local St. John Ambulance, Red Cross, or community centre to sign up for classes. You could also call your public health office for information on where to find a class.
- Use a hardware‑mounted swing gate at both the top and the bottom of stairs. Do not remove them until your toddler can climb stairs on his or her own, without help.
- Check your smoke detector batteries once a month or as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Put full panel protective covers on all electrical outlets that your toddler can reach.
- Move furniture away from windows to keep your toddler from climbing out.
- Tape foam or sponge over counter and table corners to protect heads from bumps.
- Drawstrings on children’s outfits are very dangerous. Remove all hood and neck strings from children’s outerwear, including jackets and sweatshirts. Drawstrings could get caught on the corner posts of a crib or on playground equipment. Many manufacturers have stopped making clothes with hood or neck strings. They have put on snaps to prevent this type of injury.
- Keep items such as toys, clothing, and household items with strings, cords, or ribbons that are longer than 15 cm (6 in.) out of your toddler’s reach. Longer ties can get wrapped around your toddler’s neck and cut off breathing.
- Cords on blinds and drapes must be removed or tied up where your toddler cannot reach them, even when your toddler climbs on the furniture.
Purses can contain coins, small mints, and medications that can harm your toddler. Keep purses up high and out of reach.
For a printable list of safety tips, see the BC Children’s Hospital Home Safety Checklist.
Tie cords on blinds and drapes up out of reach or clip them shorter, cut them off, or fasten them high and to the side.
Nothing Is Completely Childproof
There is no such thing as “completely childproof.” Safety latches make it more difficult for children to open cupboards. But they don’t make it impossible. The child‑resistant caps on some products may keep some children from getting into them. But some children may be able to open the caps if they try long enough. Keep harmful products locked up, out of sight, and out of reach. Remember: nothing replaces adult supervision.
Bathroom Safety Tips
- Always supervise your toddler every moment that she or he is near water or in water (including the bathtub). If you must leave the bathroom, even for a minute, take your toddler with you.
- Keep all medications, cosmetics, nail polish, mouthwash, hairspray, hair dye, and cleansers out of reach and locked up.
- Put away hair dryers, electric razors, and curling irons after you use them.
- Keep sharp objects like razors, scissors, and nail files out of reach and locked up.
- Use a non‑skid bathmat on the bottom of the bathtub or shower.
- Close the lid on the toilet seat and install a toilet seat lock. Your toddler could lean over and fall in, and not be able to get out.
- Keep baby powder, talc, cornstarch, diaper pins, and other baby‑care objects well out of your toddler’s reach.
- Wipe up spills quickly.
Kitchen Safety Tips
- Turn pot handles toward the back or middle of the stove, and not over another element.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, away from the stove. Keep it near a door to the outside so you can use it and leave if necessary.
- Use the back burners of the stove for hot temperatures and the front burners for lower temperatures. It is even better if you try to cook using only the back burners.
- Keep hot oil out of reach and make sure it cannot splash or spill onto your toddler.
- Teach your toddler that the area in front of the stove is off limits as a play area.
- Wipe up spills quickly.
- Unplug and keep small appliances out of reach.
- Keep small foods that could cause choking, such as beans or nuts, out of reach.
- Use placemats instead of tablecloths. Children can pull on tablecloths causing hot food and drinks to fall.
- Keep the dishwasher locked and the soap container empty until ready for use.
- If you have a chest freezer, keep it locked or in a locked room to prevent your toddler from falling in. Keep the key out of reach.
For more information on preventing fires and burns, preventing falls, and preventing poisoning, click here.