Pointers for Childproofing Your Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets

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Whether you are a first-time parent or you've got enough kids to field a football team, you should always remain vigilant about childproofing your house. Even if your previous child wasn't much of an explorer, it only takes a split second for a disaster to occur.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than 67,000 children go to the emergency room each year for medicine poisoning. Many seemingly harmless household products can actually be very dangerous for your child.

Once they can crawl, stand, and climb, it's too late to put your safety plan into action. Get a head start, and childproof your kitchen and bathroom cabinets now. Here are some potential hazards to be on the lookout for:

  • Medicine should be stored in a locked container that is inaccessible to children, preferably in an upper cabinet in your kitchen or bathroom. This includes all vitamins, supplements, and any over-the-counter medicines. If you keep medicine in your purse, be sure it is out of reach as well.
  • Health and beauty products, such as make-up, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, perfume, lotion, deodorant, and mouthwash can be hazardous to your child. These need to be safely stored where your child can't reach them.
  • Glass, such as mirrors, jewelry boxes, and eyeglasses can be extremely dangerous if they are pulled off a counter and are broken. These items should be stored safely out of reach of your child.
  • Chemicals and cleaning products can be extremely hazardous, even fatal, to your child. This can include laundry detergent, dish soap, insect repellants, and household cleaning products. If you plan to keep these items in lower cabinets, make sure safety latches are installed.
  • Electrical cords can be dangerous. A child can use the cord to pull an item off a counter, causing the item to break into sharp pieces. Or the item could fall on top of the child, causing a serious injury. Electrical cords are also dangerous when stored near a water source, such as a sink or bathtub. Hair dryers, curling irons, electric toothbrushes, and electric shavers should be safely stored out of your child's reach.

Once you've identified the potential hazards in your kitchen and bathroom, it's time to make your home a safe haven. Here are several types of locks to use on your cabinets:

  • The Magnetic Locking System 9-Piece Setis a great choice for your curious toddler. Magnetic locks are installed inside the cabinet, and adults must use a powerful magnetic key to open the cabinet. Locks can be disengaged temporarily if you want to open the cabinets without the key.This YouTube video shows the magnetic locking system in action.
  • The ProGrade Cabinet Lock by Safety 1st is designed for use on side-by-side cabinets. Either cabinet can be opened, and there is a built-in indicator to show you that the lock is engaged. The lock is mounted inside the cabinet, which protects the front of your cabinet when you're ready to remove the locks.
  • The KidCo Spring Action Cabinet Lock is the classic cabinet lock system that most adults are familiar with. Since it is mounted inside the cabinet, the front of your cabinet door will not be damaged. The lock is inexpensive, easy to install, and easy to use. The lock can also be temporarily disengaged.

The best way for you to see potential hazards is to take a look from your baby's point of view. Get down on your hands and knees, and look around for anything that is dangerous. Once your baby is mobile, keep watching to see what dangers you overlooked.

Amy Kirkegaard is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of baby-related topics, such as cloth diapers, nursery furniture, and double strollers. She previously worked in marketing and human resources for an oilfield equipment manufacturer.

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