Childproofing the Living Room
The living room, a room in which the family may spend a good deal of time, is often the site of valuable electronics, treasured decorative pieces, and heavy pieces of furniture. Here’s how to make it safe.
Furniture and Windows
The tallest and heaviest furniture in the house is often found in the living room. To prevent furniture from falling, it can be anchored to studs in the wall.
Furniture with glass tops should be removed. Anything with sharp corners can either be removed or corner and edge bumpers can be used. These are protective coverings that help prevent a child from being injured from falls by softening sharp corners.
Avoid placing furniture in close proximity to windows in the living room. Not only could the baby break the glass and fall through the window, but any cords or draperies or blinds could get tangled around the child. Very long draperies or cords could cause a tripping hazard and should be shortened (products called cord shorteners are available) and kept out of reach. Window guards and safety nets are additional devices that help minimize the danger of a child falling from a window.
Decorative and Fragile Items
Move breakable objects either out of the living room, to a cabinet with a safety latch, or to a shelf that is out of reach. Keep all pointed or potentially dangerous objects in drawers with safety latches, and substitute other lighting for floor lamps. Designating a special, out of reach location for remote controls that control electronics is also a good plan.
House plants should also be moved out of reach, and any that are poisonous should be moved to an area the child cannot access. Even placing a plant in a hanging basket cannot prevent it from dropping a leaf or a petal when you’re not looking and the baby is.
Both to prevent splinters and to lessen the chance of slips, carpet or non-skid rugs are useful. If the floor covering’s own backing is not sufficient to keep it in place, double-sided carpet tape or tacking can help ensure safe walking.
Keep any electronics equipment, such as a stereo, television, DVD player, etc., well back on the shelf. Some parents prefer a locked cabinet or entertainment center.
Outlets and Electrical Cords
Electrical outlet safety covers and plates restrict access to electrical outlets, thus reducing the risk of electrocution. They should be installed firmly so that a child cannot remove them and be large enough not to pose a choking hazard.
Electrical cords should be collected in a cord bundler and cord shorteners should also be used as appropriate. This will both prevent the baby from teething on the cord and from tugging on it and inadvertently pulling the object at the other end down on him- or herself. To prevent tripping hazards, as well as keep cords inaccessible, you may wish to tape cords down.
Make sure that children cannot lock themselves in the living room, using doorstops to keep doors open, if necessary. If there are sliding glass doors, use a lock and/or a broom handle to prevent children from manipulating them. Decals should be used to identify any clear glass doors for safety.
Written by Mary Elizabeth
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