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Babyproof Your Home, Room by Room

Alexandra Grablewski


The hazards:
Stove tops and burners with hot pots and pans can burn or scald would-be chefs, and sharp utensils like scissors and knives may cause nasty cuts. Anything dangling -- tablecloths as well as appliance cords -- is at risk for a sudden yank. Cabinets and drawers can pinch little fingers and often contain off-limits items such as cleaning products, liquor and a trash can full of temptations.

Make it safer:
It's best to keep tots out of the kitchen altogether, but probably not practical, so create a safe space, or use a stationary activity center or high chair. Use stove knob covers and a barrier to block burners, and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove or use only the back burners. Store chairs and step stools in a secure place to keep baby from clambering onto counters, the stove or the sink, where he could fall or experiment with forbidden items, and unplug appliances when not in use (bundle the cords with a rubber band). Opt for place mats instead of a tablecloth on the table, and put him down while you're enjoying your morning java, so he doesn't make a grab for the steaming mug. Install child-resistant latches or locks on the oven door, cabinets and drawers, and keep the dishwasher latched shut. Keep small objects or pieces of food off the floor -- and out of baby's mouth -- and keep the trash can firmly closed or in a latched cabinet. Store breakable items such as dishes and bottles out of reach.