When you have kids, particularly mobile kids, you become aware of all of the dangers in your house. Dressers are now capable of inflicting serious injury and must be tethered to walls. Stairs are mountains that mobile toddlers must climb even if their abilities haven’t caught up to their adventurous desires. And you never noticed how many outlets you have until your children start to go at them with sharp objects. While you don’t want to go overboard in the baby-proofing — kids are bound to get bumps and bruises and do need the freedom to play — there are certainly household dangers that should be taken very seriously.
One of those dangers falls under the category of “Things That Could Be Ingested” and includes items like medications, cleaning supplies and other hazardous materials. Considering that kids put things like dirt in their mouth, it’s easy to see how brightly colored cleaning supplies and colorful laundry detergent pods might entice kids to give them a taste-test. It’s National Poison Prevention Week, and in the spirit of keeping kids safe, Tide and Gain have partnered with Rosie Pope (remember our recent chat with her?) for its Up, Up and Away campaign to help parents create safe homes (and laundry rooms). So take this as a reminder to conduct a safety check around your home to ensure all dangerous items are stored out of reach of children, and check out Rosie’s tips to do just that!
Top Tips For Household Safety
What are your best tips for keeping your kids safe from dangers in the house? Being aware that there are many dangers and keeping them out of reach from your kids. That is the ultimate way to make sure that they can’t get to them, which is the whole point of the Up, Up and Away campaign. I’ve teamed up with Tide and Gain for Poison Prevention Week, to bring you tips on how to keep your home safe both in and out of the laundry room. First and foremost, keep all cleaning supplies — including laundry packets — up, up and away out of children’s reach! Also, maintain that philosophy and regularly go through your house to ensure that this is being done. Get down on your child’s level and see things from their perspective. You might not always notice some of the smaller items that they see and can get a hold of. Anything that is not supposed to be eaten or played with should be stored up, up and away. Make sure everyone in the house, or anyone who comes into your house, is also on the same page. It’s important to educate any visiting family members (i.e. nannies, in-laws) about safety rules in your home. Tell them where you keep your cleaning products and encourage them to do the same. Also, educate your children when things are dangerous so that they can make the right decisions when you are not around.
What is a common mistake parents make when baby proofing? Anything often overlooked? They don’t focus on everything, including cleaning products. They don’t assume that little babies won’t get into these products, but they can and have. Also, just because they are no longer babies and aren’t banging their heads against a table, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something that can be of danger in the house for them. It is important to always be aware.
How do you manage having kids of different ages, where some toys may be safe for the oldest ones but not for the youngest? It’s about practical and logistical rules. We have four kids, and the two older ones are obsessed with Legos, which is not good for my 1-year-old. So my husband and I created a Lego room. I don’t care what they do in it, as long as the Legos do not come out of that room. You have to establish these areas and make rules and boundaries and stick to them. If they bring a Lego out of that room, then it gets taken away for a while or we get rid of it. It’s important that your children see the bigger picture. Teach them boundaries, give them options and explain. Never give into one child’s wishes that may put your other child(ren) at risk. I know that people will often give into children when they get upset, but parents need to establish boundaries and give them options and explain the reason for you to say no. Be strong as a parent and make good choices for everybody.
Any must-have baby proofing items you swear by? Common sense. Honestly, you can’t only rely on safety products. You need to be constantly checking your house and your environment. There is no product for that. Use common sense on where you need to keep potentially hazardous things. Socket protectors are great, but are you going to put a cabinet lock every cabinet in your house?
A big thanks to Tide, Gain and Rosie for sharing these safety tips with us. The company sent me some laundry detergent pods to try — I’d never tried them before and they are super convenient and effective — and I immediately used it as a teachable moment to remind my kids that even if something looks fun to eat, unless their father or I give it to them, they are not to eat it. We also went into a whole Stranger Danger safety talk, but that’s a post for another day…
Do you use laundry detergent pods? I never had before, but I must say I loved just throwing them in the machine and not measuring detergent! —Erin