Dr. Creshelle Nash
Keeping children healthy and safe is of utmost importance to parents and caretakers. Doing so requires a protected home environment where children can safely grow and be nurtured. But the reality is, more than one-third of all child injuries and deaths occur at home with factors like gender, socioeconomic status, and health literacy factoring into children’s experiences at home. To help guide parents and guardians, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has compiled a list of simple ways to “childproof” your home against things that could be harmful to your child. Childproofing (sometimes also called babyproofing) your home is a great way to take good care of your child and provide you peace of mind. Five tips to help you get started are:
Use Doorknob Covers
- Doorknob covers and/or door locks can help keep children away from rooms or things that might be dangerous. The doorknob cover should be durable, but it should be easy for an adult to open in an emergency. Additionally, ensure all doors to the outside are locked so children do not have access to yard or driveway dangers, like pools or moving vehicles.
Check Their Crib, and Sleep Safety
- If your child uses a crib, be aware of the appropriate crib-rail height for their age. Watch for signs that your child can get through bars or climb out, as many child deaths have been linked to cribs and even mattresses. If your child begins to start climbing out of the crib, it may be time to upgrade to a toddler bed.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you avoid bed-sharing, or sleeping in the same bed as an infant. Sleeping in the same bed as a newborn can heighten the risk of harmful situations like suffocation, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs), and entrapment. The AAP suggests letting your infant sleep in a crib, bassinet, or cradle in the same room you sleep in.
Install Internal Cabinet and Drawer Locks
- External locks are commonly used on cabinets in many households, but internal locks are preferable. While an internal cabinet and drawer lock is more difficult to install, you won’t have to remember to reattach it every time you open your cabinets and drawers. This helps ease the worry of your children getting into any of your household cleaning products, especially ones that are toxic when ingested.
Identify Safe Zones
- Create an area or playpen of sorts that will keep your child safe while you are doing other things around the house. With furniture tip-overs being a common cause of injury in children, particularly those under the age of six, it’s important to safeguard furniture and common household pieces by bolting them down or keeping children away from them entirely.
Use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm
- Many of us have fire alarms, but we also need CO alarms to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, which is difficult to detect until it is too late. Parents should be installing CO alarms outside of bedrooms and near each sleeping area. CO alarms (and smoke detectors) also need to be tested on a regular basis, with batteries being replaced at least once a year.
Childproofing your home provides a safe environment for your child and helps prevent injuries. When children can grow and play in a safe environment, they are able to live healthier, happier lives.
Childproofing in Arkansas
For more resources on preventing child injury, visit the Arkansas Childrens’ Injury Prevention Center website.
At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, understanding how to keep our children safe will ultimately allow us to breathe a bit easier, in support of our whole health. We are committed to developing strategies to improve whole-person health for all Arkansans. By working together to focus on the health of our children, our families, and ourselves, we can help create healthier communities and healthier people.