2-1/2 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home
each year. The good news is that many of these incidents can be
prevented by using simple child safety devices on the market today.
Any safety device you buy should be sturdy
enough to prevent injury to your child, yet easy for you to use.
It's important to follow installation instructions carefully. In
addition, if you have older children in the house, be sure they
re-secure safety devices. Remember, too, that no device is
completely childproof; determined youngsters have been known to
You can childproof your home for a fraction of
what it would cost to have a professional do it. And safety devices
are easy to find. You can buy them at hardware stores, baby
equipment shops, supermarkets, drug stores, home and linen stores,
and through mail order catalogues.
Here are some child safety devices that can
help prevent many injuries to young children. The red numbers
correspond to those on the image following the text.
Safety Latches and Locks for
cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to help
prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety latches and locks on
cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access
to medicines and household cleaners, as well as knives and other
Look for safety latches and locks that adults
can easily install and use, but are sturdy enough to withstand pulls
and tugs from children. Safety latches are not a guarantee of
protection, but they can make it more difficult for children to
reach dangerous substances. Even products with child-resistant
packaging should be locked away, out of reach; this packaging is not
Typical cost of a safety latch or lock: less
Safety Gates to help prevent falls
down stairs and to keep children away from dangerous areas. Safety
gates can help keep children away from stairs or rooms that have
hazards in them. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge
easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For
the top of stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure than
New safety gates that meet safety standards
display a certification seal from the Juvenile Products
Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If you have an older safety gate,
be sure it doesn't have "V" shapes that are large enough
for a child's head and neck to fit into.
Typical cost of a safety gate: $13 to $40.
Door Knob Covers and Door Locks to
help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with
possible dangers. Door knob covers and door locks can help keep
children away from places with hazards, including swimming pools.
Be sure the door knob cover is sturdy enough
not to break, but allows a door to be opened quickly by an adult in
case of emergency. By restricting access to potentially hazardous
rooms in the home, door knob covers could help prevent many kinds of
injuries. To prevent access to swimming pools, door locks should be
placed high out of reach of young children. Locks should be used in
addition to fences and door alarms. Sliding glass doors, with locks
that must be re-secured after each use, are often not an effective
barrier to pools.
Typical cost of a door knob cover: $1 and door
lock: $5 and up.
Anti-Scald Devices for faucets and
shower heads and set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees
Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water. Anti-scald devices
for regulating water temperature can help prevent burns.
Consider using anti-scald devices for faucets
and showerheads. A plumber may need to install these. In addition,
if you live in your own home, set water heater temperature to 120
degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water.
Typical cost of an anti-scald device: $6 to
Smoke Detectors on every level of
your home and near bedrooms to alert you to fires. Smoke detectors
are essential safety devices for protection against fire deaths and
Check smoke detectors once a month to make
sure they're working.
|If detectors are battery-operated, change
batteries at least once a year or consider using 10-year batteries.
Typical cost of a smoke detector: less than
Window Guards and Safety Netting to
help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks, and landings.
Window guards and safety netting for balconies and decks can help
prevent serious falls.
Check these safety devices frequently to make
sure they are secure and properly installed and maintained. There
should be no more than four inches between the bars of the window
guard. If you have window guards, be sure at least one window in
each room can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens
are not effective for preventing children from falling out of
Typical cost of a window guard or safety
netting: $8 to $16.
Corner and Edge Bumpers to help
prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and
fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be used with furniture and
fireplace hearths to help prevent injuries from falls or to soften
falls against sharp or rough edges.
Be sure to look for bumpers that stay securely
on furniture or hearth edges.
Typical cost of a corner and edge bumper: $1
Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates to
help prevent electrocution. Outlet covers and outlet plates can help
protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution.
Be sure the outlet protectors cannot be easily
removed by children and are large enough so that children cannot
choke on them.
Typical cost of an outlet cover: less than $2.
a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
outside bedrooms to help prevent CO poisoning. A carbon monoxide
(CO) detector can help prevent CO poisoning. Consumers should
install CO detectors near sleeping areas in their homes. Households
that should use CO detectors include those with gas or oil heat or
with attached garages.
Typical cost of a carbon monoxide (CO)
detector: $30 to $70.
Cut Window Blind Cords and use Safety
Tassels to help prevent children from strangling in blind
cord loops. Window blind cord safety tassels on miniblinds and
tension devices on vertical blinds and drapery cords can help
prevent deaths and injuries from strangulation in the loops of
For older miniblinds, cut the cord loop,
remove the buckle, and put safety tassels on each cord. Be sure that
older vertical blinds and drapery cords have tension or tie-down
devices to hold the cords tight. When buying new miniblinds,
verticals, and draperies, ask for safety features to prevent child
You can get window blind cord safety tassels
free by calling 1-800-506-4636.
Use Door Stops and Door Holders to
help prevent injuries to fingers and hands. Door stops and door
holders on doors and door hinges can help prevent small fingers and
hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door hinges.
Be sure any safety device for doors is easy to
use and is not likely to break into small parts, which could be a
choking hazard for young children.
Typical cost of a door stop and door holder:
less than $4.
Use a Cordless Phone to make it
easier to continuously watch young children, especially when they're
in bathtubs, swimming pools, or other potentially dangerous
Cordless phones help you watch your child
continuously, without leaving the vicinity to answer a phone call.
Cordless phones are especially helpful when children are in or near
water, whether it's the bathtub, the swimming pool, or the beach.
Typical cost of a cordless phone: $30 and up.