Toddler-proofing around the house

Your adventurous toddler wants to explore everything -- and the average home has many hidden dangers. Here are some common-sense things to think about when toddler-proofing your home, and being safe inside and when you are out and about.


  • Use doorstops and door holders to prevent doors from slamming on your child's delicate fingers.
  • Continue to use plug blocks in electrical sockets - they are just the right size for little fingers.
  • Your toddler may also develop an interest in pulling plugs out of sockets and putting them back in again, which creates a risk of electric shock. If you can, plug in electrical appliances out of your child's reach. Hide electric cords behind furniture or use a hide-a-cord device.
  • Use a fireplace or heater guard when you are using the fireplace or heater, and always supervise your child around heaters and fireplaces.
  • If you have blinds, or strings hanging off your curtains, make sure that these are hooked up out of your child's reach, or cut them off altogether, as your child may become tangled in them and be strangled.
  • Mark ranchsliders and low windows with window clings or colourful stickers, so that your toddler does not run into them and injure themselves.
  • Install window locks so that your windows can be opened far enough for fresh air to come into the room, but not far enough for your child to fall or climb out. Older homes may need the locks replaced. Move furniture that your child could climb away from windows.
  • Keep TVs and stereo equipment on low, sturdy tables, as children can pull these items down on themselves. Push these items as far back as possible.
  • Install a fireplace guard to keep your child away from the hearth. Stow logs, matches, kindling, and fireplace tools our of reach.
  • Make sure your child's toys are age-appropriate. Many toys are marked 3 years + as they are a choking hazard. Also watch that your child doesn't put small parts of toys into their nose or ears - toddlers can think this is a great game, but it can cause hearing loss and breathing difficulties.
  • Don't use tablecloths, placemats, or table runners as your child can pull them -- and anything that is on them -- down on themselves.
  • Block access to heaters, radiators and the like. Teach your child that these are things never to be touched.
  • Always watch your child when he or she is eating, to ensure that they don't choke.
  • Have a fire escape route in case of fire.

Out and about:

  • Ensure that your child cannot get out onto the road. Toddlers can move very quickly, so if your backyard isn't fenced, make sure they are supervised at all times when outside.
  • Teach your child to be wary of cars and to always hold an adult's hand when you are on walks or in parking lots.
  • If your child can reach to open the front or back door, make sure these are locked, with the key out of his or her reach. There have been cases where children as young as two have let themselves out of the house and gotten lost, or wandered onto the road.
  • Ensure that swimming pools are fenced, and comply with council fencing regulations. Bear in mind that inflatable pools are also subject to fencing regulations, even if they are only temporarily in use.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a pool, or even near a pool. Children can drown in just a few centimetres of water.
  • At the supermarket, ensure your child sits only in the child seat in the trolley, and make sure they are strapped in. Children can fall out of shopping trolleys and seriously injure themselves.


Under 5

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