How To Protect Your Kids From Home Dangers
(05-12-05) Home Sweet Home or so the expression goes. But while your home may be sweet, it may not be as safe as you think - especially for your little ones.
LOCAL 8 asked two child safety experts to walk through the home of Sylvia and David Borgo, looking for hidden dangers that could harm the couple's six-month-old son Diego.
Kim Bost, the owner of Baby Home Safety, and Armando Locano, a California State day care inspector, offered some advice. They started in the kitchen, the site for many household accidents.
"We would be checking every single drawer to make sure that does have latches," Locano said.
Latches are critical because toddlers and children can easily get into drawers, getting their hands on sharp utensils, chemicals and cleaning products. But if you still need access to those dangerous items, make sure they're always kept secure.
"It's really inconvenient if it's something that you're using all the time to put it away... so we recommend that you put a really good safety latch under the sink," Bost said.
Other tips for keeping your kitchen safe -- Move the knives off the counter and put them in a secure cabinet or closet. And avoid using tablecloths or placemats. A baby will pull on them and could be hurt by what's on the table.
In the living and dining room, furniture may be comfortable, but not necessarily baby-friendly.
Sharp edges on furniture could harm a child. Consider removing or replacing those pieces with cloth versions. Electrical cords should be tied up or secured using a Baby Safe Box. And bookcases need to be anchored to the wall.
"Anything that's tall is really easy to tip over," Bost said. "So we recommend that you either secure that to the wall or kind of secure it behind furniture."
In the bathroom, our experts found hidden dangers. A medicine cabinet may seem too high for a child to reach, but if they pull out the drawers, they can easily get on the counter. And toilets are dangerous because a baby can fall in and drown. Our experts recommend locking or cleaning out the medicine cabinet, installing toilet locks, and putting latches on the bathroom drawers.
For those who have stairs in their home, gates are essential.
"Definitely a mounted gate because the danger is if you do have a pressure gate, the child pushes and the gate becomes dislodged and boom down the stairs," Bost said.
Baby-proofing a home can feel overwhelming, but to make the job easier, companies such as Baby Home Safety offer a variety of baby-proofing devices.
Above all, parents should think like a child.
"We actually recommend that you as a parent get down on your hands and knees... crawl around and you will see things that a baby will see," Bost said.
While these changes may seem like a lot of effort, the Borgos say it's well worth it.
"You don't want to say no all the time -- no don't touch this, no don't sit, no don't stand, no don't walk there," Sylvia Borgo said. "So you just have to make sure that everything is safe enough for them to explore."