Your home can be a dangerous place for a crawling baby or curious toddler, but there's a lot you can do to make it safer. Heavy appliances and furnishings alone pose a serious peril. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that a child is killed every two weeks because of unsecured televisions, appliances and furniture tipping over. Here are some basic child-proofing steps from experts to make your home safer.
• Secure furniture, especially bookcases, to walls with metal angle brackets or anchors.
• Place outlet covers over all unused outlets. Secure cords along the wall or behind furniture. Don't allow cords to hang off edges of tables or countertops. A child can pull a cord and be hit by an appliance or lamp.
• Latch or lock kitchen cupboards and pantry doors. Make sure all hazardous cleaners and other materials are out of the reach of children.
• Using safety gates to protect children from going up or down stairs. Avoid using pressure-mounted baby gates on the top of stairs and consider hiring a handyman to install a gate if your stair openings have unique features such as uneven, hollow walls, wrought iron or molding. Gates can also keep little kids out of rooms that contain a hazard.
• Make sure window treatments don't pose a strangulation risk. Cords should be secured and tucked up high, away from little hands. They should never be near a crib.
• Install window guards so children can't fall through an open window.
• Use toilet locks, pool fencing and other water-hazard protections.
• Cover furniture edges and other corners that can cause injury.