Form the moment a baby begins to crawl, home becomes a learning experience, with hundreds of things to look at, touch, and taste. Before your children or grandchildren become mobile, lock, secure, relocate, or remove anything that may pose a potential danger, Here's a room-by-room checklist that can help protect your little ones.

In the Kitchen

  • Remove cleaning supplies and fluids from lower storage areas or keep them under lock and key.
  • Keep electrical and telephone cords bundled and tucked out of reach. Unplug portable appliances when they're not in use.
  • When cooking turn pot handles to the back of the stove; use extra care when the oven is on.
  • If your range has knobs at the front where a toddler could reach them, remove the knobs when the range isn't being used.
  • Keep sharp knives and other cutting tools in a locked drawer or cabinet.

In the Bathroom

  • Keep everything a child could accidentally ingest- medications, mouthwashes, after-shave lotions, insect repellents, cosmetics, cleaning agents, and drain cleaner- in a key-locked cabinet. Don't depend on "child-resistent" latches; some kids find them easy pickings.
  • Install toilet lid locks; just a few inches of water poses a danger.
  • Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees to prevent scalding.
  • Never leave a small child alone in the bathtub for even "just a second".
  • Install night lights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

In Other Indoor Areas

  • Cover all electrical outlets. Most receptacles are within easy reach of a crawling baby.
  • Route cords for lamps and other electrical items behind furniture where toddlers can't reach them.
  • Install gates at stairways, top and bottom.
  • Lift blind and drapery cords out of the reach of little hands.
  • Use specially designed door stops and knobs that prevent children from opening forbidden doors.

In the Yard

  • Remove plants that are poisonous and plants that attract bees.
  • Keep children away when mowing the grass; a mower can hurl rocks.
  • Always put away fertilizers, gardening tools, pesticides, lawn mowers, and other potentially harmful tools and supplies.
  • Make sure fence is free of sharp or jagged edges, splinters, protruding nails, and peeling paint.

In a Play Area

    A well-planned play are diverts kids' attentions from potential dangers, such as a busy street, and provides a place where they can exercise their bodies and imaginations. In planning play equipment, keep the following points in mind:

  • Angles or openings must be large enough or small enough so that they can't accidentally entrap a child's head or body.
  • Eliminate sharp edges, corners, or protrusions.
  • All screws and bolts should be securely capped.
  • Hang swings from closed O-rings, not open S-hooks (or pinch S-rings shut).
  • Swing ropes must be strong enough to support an adult's weight
  • Swing seats should be made from a light, soft material-such as rubber or canvas-that won't cause an injury if the seat hits a child.
  • Check equipment every so often for loose hardware, posts, and other framework.
  • A layer of wood chips, pea gravel, or sand cushions falls.