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Sunday, August 12, 2012

How to Childproof the Kitchen


Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is an eye-opening experience for first-time parents’, showing them a new world of lurking dangers that went entirely unseen while the house was inhabited solely by adults. Knowing that your tiny bundle of joy will be crawling, and then walking, is what makes the chore of childproofing seem like a fairly urgent one. The truth is, there’s no time too early to childproof, even if your newborn is still learning to focus their eyes; kids grow up quickly, and it’s better to be well-prepared in advance than have the need for childproofing measures present themselves after your pride and joy has already had a mishap.
  • Place Safety Gates at Entrances – Whenever feasible, it’s best to keep babies out of the kitchen altogether. This holds especially true for times when you’re not in the kitchen to supervise, and placing baby safety gates at all entrances keeps a crawling baby or shambling toddler from slipping into this household danger zone without the knowledge of an adult.
  • Install Cabinet Locks – Aside from the dangerous substances, utensils, and other items that are often stored in lower cabinets, there is also a very real risk of injured hands and fingers. Should tiny digits be smashed by a cabinet door they could very easily be injured more severely than you might imagine; to prevent this and accidental poisoning by household chemicals, install a set of cabinet locks on all lower cabinet doors.
  • Consider a Drawer Guide System – Toddlers are usually just tall enough to open a drawer and close it again, though they may not have enough height to peek inside at the contents. Still, drawers can slam on small fingers too, inflicting painful damage to their fragile fingers. Installing a drawer guide system designed to insure that drawers close softly and smoothly every time might help to reduce this risk.
  • Invest in Electrical Outlet Plates – The small, translucent plastic outlet covers that most adults remember from their own childhoods are still commercially available; they do, however, present a choking hazard and can also be quickly figured out by observant toddlers. Kids learn by mimicking adults, so it won’t take too many instances of watching you remove an outlet cover before using it for your child to grasp the concept. Since small outlet covers may not be ideal, it might be wise to consider full outlet plates that cover both sockets and immediately slide back into place after use.
  • Install an Oven Lock – Ovens can be purchased with a factory installed lock, but if your oven doesn’t have one you can purchase after-market varieties that can be installed on your existing oven as well. This will prevent curious little hands from landing themselves in the emergency room with severe burns. They’re not always the most attractive feature in a kitchen, but sacrificing style in the interest of your baby’s safety is perennially en vogue.
  • Move Cleaners and Other Chemicals to Higher Ground – Installing cabinet locks is a wise idea because they can keep kids from pinching their fingers or accessing dangerous items inside. However, parents can’t rely solely upon a cabinet lock to keep determined pint-sized investigators out, so it’s advised that all cleaning fluids and other potentially harmful chemicals be moved to upper cabinets, way out of kids’ reach
  • Stow Away the Garbage Can – While a rational adult would assume that the off-putting odor of a garbage can would be repellent enough on its own, there’s something about the refuse heap that captures kids’ curiosity. To keep your baby or toddler out of the smelly, dirty, and bacteria-laden trash, move the can to a cabinet or invest in a model with a childproof lid.
  • Train Yourself to Unplug Small Appliances – Unplugging a small appliance, like a blender, mixer, or toaster, can be a difficult thing for new parents to remember; after all, adults know the very real risk that dropping these items in a sink full of water presents. Small children may not be able to grasp this concept for a while, however, so it’s advised that new and even expecting parents get themselves accustomed to the idea of doing just that to prevent tragic accidents.
The earlier you install your cabinet locks and other security measures, the longer you’ll have to become accustomed to them before your child is actually in need of the safety they can help to provide. Frustration with the devices can cause parents to uninstall or disable them, leaving little ones open to danger; take the time to learn how they work and the best methods of boosting kitchen efficiency while leaving them in place to reduce the temptation of chucking them at the first sign of struggle.

 P.S. This post was  proposed to me for publication by Lynda Albertson.  I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information:

 http://www.nannybabysitter.com/blog/how-to-childproof-the-kitchen/

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