Some parents don’t realize that there are items that need to be toddler proof, such as piggy banks. And there are other parents that know they should keep items such as cutlery in a high cabinet with a lock, but ignore the horror stories online and leave them out on the counter.
I have plenty of jaw-dropping memories of when my younger sister was a toddler—she could be a total hellion that gave my parents quite a few grey hairs at that age. My mother loves to regale the rest of our relatives during the holidays with the story of how despite her best efforts to toddler proof the house, my sister still found a way to climb over the gate and attempt to make her way up the stairs.
Luckily, my mother came into the room just in time to see what my mischievous younger sister was up to and got her out of that situation ASAP. We all laugh at the story on the holidays—my younger sister included—but we’re all aware that it could have taken a far more tragic turn if my mother didn’t have the perfect timing to come into the room at that very moment.
For parents looking to make sure that their house or apartment is fully toddler proof, the following list will provide a guide on what to do and what not to ignore when it comes to keeping a little one safe from harm.
First, the 15 things most parents never even realized have to be toddler proof...
Most people are used to keeping candles and matches in a handy drawer near the stove or somewhere in the kitchen, but once a toddler comes into the picture that needs to be locked up somewhere they’ll never be able to find—or reach.
Parents.com points out that toddlers are very observant and even though they don’t have the greatest fine motor skills yet, there’s always a chance they could accidentally light a match and wind up starting a fire or mistake the candle wax for food.
To be safe, toss out the matches and candles while using flameless LED candles (also stored in a safe place) to minimize any risks.
When my little sister and I were growing up, it was pretty common for my parents to literally stuff the shelves with framed photographs of the family.
It was the ‘90s and pretty much all of our friends had the same set-up, so I never thought much about it.
Parents.com warns that some adults don’t realize that a glass picture frame can easily be knocked over and cut a rambunctious toddler, even if there’s carpet on the floor. It’s better to either purchase plastic frames or hang the photographs on the wall.
Even though my parents did their best to childproof the house after my little sister was born and again when she was a toddler, they didn’t realize that they had missed one big ol’ safety hazard: the television.
Back in the late ‘90s, televisions were pretty heavy and ours wasn’t all that secure. Sure, it was on a stand but that thing could’ve been easily jostled by my sister and fallen on her foot. That’s why Parents.com recommends mounting the television set (which are lighter than the ones I had as a kid) to the wall to stave off a potential accident.
Most parents who are lucky enough to own a house with a fireplace would think that it’s enough to simply put gates around it, but that’s not enough to prevent an accident from occurring with your toddler.
Parents.com highly recommends installing heat-resistant gates that you can lock when the fireplace is in use and purchasing pads for the edges of the hearth since a toddler can easily slip and fall on them while running. With regards to artificial fireplaces, some of them can have small rocks contained therein so it’s best to go over it with a fine-toothed comb and make sure there’s none around for your child to potentially chew on.
Looking back at my own childhood, I don’t recall a time where my parents didn’t take medications for a headache or an illness like bronchitis in front of me or even my little sister when she was younger.
The Telegraph writes that even though it may seem harmless, taking medications in front of toddlers is a huge no-no because they like to copy their parents and run the risk of being poisoned if the adults don’t keep the cabinet under lock and key. It’s not enough to keep the medications in a higher cabinet; kids are smart and could figure out a way to get them. It’s better to purchase a lock and a key for the cabinet to be safe.
Nowadays, most appliances such as air conditioners or television sets have a remote control and people wouldn’t think twice if the cover fell off, leaving the batteries exposed.
Heck, I used the remote for my old air conditioner for years without the cover because it fell off one day and I was too lazy to look for it.
Parents.com warns that remotes without battery covers can present a huge hazard for toddlers, especially if they are button batteries. Be vigilant and replace battery covers ASAP.
When I was growing up, we had a wooden coffee table and it still shocks me that my sister never managed to stub her toe or trip and fall when she was an active and curious toddler.
My parents just tried to keep it out of her way when she was playing in the living room.
Parents.com says it’s not enough to supervise children in the living room if you have a coffee table, especially one made out of glass that’s non-tempered and shatters easily. It’s best to purchase edge guards or move it to a room that’s off-limits for toddlers so they won’t accidentally trip and cut their eyelids or forehead.
Many people purchase window blinds that come with cords because it’s easier to adjust the level of sunlight that comes in and helps keep their house or apartment cooler in the summer.
For parents who have blinds with cords, Parents.com warns them that this could be a serious hazard for toddlers since they could accidentally get their necks caught in the looped cord.
It’s better to replace them with cordless blinds or cut the loop and order free tassels from websites such as Windowcoverings.org.
Most people wouldn’t think twice about a radiator, but they can pose a serious hazard for toddlers if they fall while playing near it when it is on in the winter or if they are curious and reach out to touch it.
A Child Grows writes that parents have two options: if they are crafty, they can build a DIY radiator cover themselves or they would rather purchase one created by a professional, most hardware stores sell covers that will help keep their toddler safe from harm.
Many parents wouldn’t think that doorknobs can be a hazard, but when the time comes to toddler-proofing your house or apartment, you should give them a once-over to make sure that they meet the safety requirements recommended by Parents.com.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that both doorknobs and dresser knobs should be too large for a little kid to swallow and way too small to provide a way for your child to climb.
Parents should also double-check that the knobs are securely attached and can’t be easily pulled off or opened.
Toy chests are a valuable item when it comes to toddler-proofing your home or your apartment, but not for the reason you might think. While toy chests are a good way to keep a bedroom or play area tidy, they also help to eliminate any hazards.
Parents.com recommends a toy chest because it will keep toys safe from curious toddlers that might try to put them in their mouths when the adults aren’t looking. A word of caution though, it is best to pick a toy chest without a lid, since that can fall on your child and injure them.
Porcelain piggy banks were a traditional gift for youngins back in my day—I know one of my relatives gave one to me when I was a wee bit of a thing back in the ‘90s. Not that I used it much; it was mainly decoration for my dresser for the longest time.
Still, Parents.com recommends holding off on giving a piggy bank as a gift until your child is older because a curious toddler could easily use the dresser drawers as steps and climb up. If that piggy bank falls, your little one could easily be cut and coins are a serious hazard too.
From the time parents-to-be get the confirmation that the mom is pregnant with a viable fetus, it’s time to get your pooch trained to help mitigate any potential issues in the future. Ideally, your dog should be well socialized to children of all ages under the tutelage of an experience force-free trainer, but that’s not always the case for all of our furry friends.
Karen Pryor recommends that parents should childproof their dog by hiring a force-free trainer to help teach them essential skills such as how to walk with a loose leash alongside a stroller, bite inhibition and a “Go to mat” command.
Parents should always make sure to give their furry friend a safe place to go when their dog becomes tired of the toddler’s antics and make sure that their little one knows not to pull the pup’s tail.
Some people wouldn’t believe that a toddler could manage to open up a dishwasher door, but kids at that age love to mimic their parents and they’re curious about everything, which could potentially be a recipe for disaster.
Parents.com recommends turning the dishwasher on the minute you add detergent to lessen the chance of a curious little one accidentally ingesting it when you’ve got your back turned. You might also want to check with the manufacturer to see if the dishwasher has a lock setting; if not, you can easily order an appliance lock online.
Most people have the common misconception that toddlers don’t have the dexterity or upper body strength required to open a heavy door, like the ones that come installed on refrigerators nowadays.
But let me tell you, that’s all wrong—when my sister was that age, she loved to run into the kitchen and open up the refrigerator doors to get her box of apple juice.
That’s why Parents.com says it’s best to install a latch and keep items that are either breakable or hazardous like a bottle of wine or grapes on the highest shelf in the refrigerator.
And now the 5 that parents know about but often ignore anyway...
Ideally, The Baby Sleep Site points out that parents should make sure that furniture items in their little one’s bedroom such as the dresser can’t fall over by using furniture wall straps to keep it from accidentally toppling over if your child decides to use it as a jungle gym.
Some parents ignore this warning, Parents.com warns, and that’s when you get videos such as the one where a toddler had to rescue his twin brother after the dresser fell on them because they were trying to climb to the top.
My parents were the ones that ignored all the warnings about the risks of toddlers and windows—the only window they ever bothered to put up a guard when my sister was little was the one in the living room in the house we lived in before I was a teenager. Everything else—including the one in my sister’s room, was empty.
The Baby Sleep Site urges parents nowadays to not be like my parents with my sister and install either mesh window guards or a window stopper to prevent your toddler from being able to escape and seriously hurt themselves.
There are some people who ignore the warnings that it isn’t enough to toddler-proof your kitchen by keeping sharp items like the cutlery on the counter and away from the edge.
Parents.com writes that even though it’s convenient for cooking, the cutlery should be kept in a cabinet that is right above the kitchen counter and they should always install a baby gate to make sure that the entrance to this room is securely blocked. Even with the gate, toddlers can be too clever for their own good and they can find a way to climb over them, which is why it’s best to go the extra mile and keep the cutlery in a cabinet high above the counter.
Some parents ignore the warnings about leaving hot food unattended or on easily pulled items such as placemats when they are raising a toddler, but that is like playing with fire.
Childproofing Experts urges parents to always make sure that hot foods or liquids like soup or a cup of coffee are placed in the center of the table to minimize the chance that your curious child will accidentally spill it all over themselves and wind up getting badly hurt.
It’s pretty well known that toddlers love to climb and explore, which is why many parents take precautions—for example, such as putting gates up in front of the stairs if they live in a house.
Unfortunately, some ignore this common knowledge and don’t carefully plan where to put their furniture. Childproofing Experts writes in no uncertain terms should furniture ever be placed right next to a balcony or a railing because children at that age could easily use it as a ladder to climb up on and wind up hurting themselves.