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ABCs of Child-Proofing Kitchen, Bath

September 01, 1990|From Kitchen and Bath Ideas and Distributed by AP Newsfeatures

Home safety doesn't happen by accident.

While no one can foresee a child being injured in the kitchen or bathroom--two of a home's more hazard-fraught rooms--everyone can take steps to lessen potential perils. Most of these measures are common sense, but Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine says it pays to review.

These safety guidelines apply to both the kitchen and bathroom:

Store liquor, chemicals, cleaners and medicines in upper cabinets out of children's sight. And lock the cabinets--children can climb. Buy potentially lethal products in child-resistant packaging only.

Latch cabinets where garbage and plastic garbage bags are kept.

All cabinet doors and drawers should have safety stops. Knobs should be too large for a child to swallow.

Provide safe storage for sharp objects, such as knives and fingernail files.

Install slip-resistant flooring and make sure that scatter rugs have non-slip backings.

Eliminate or cover sharp corners, such as on counters and tables.

Place all electric outlets, or at least those near water sources, on a ground fault circuit interrupter.

Cover electric outlets.

Stay away from water sources when using small appliances.

To avoid burns, set the water temperature no higher than 120 degrees. Water heated to 156 degrees can cause a third-degree burn in only one second.

Install smoke detectors and place a fire extinguisher near the exit. If building or remodeling, consider installing a sprinkler system.

Install windows and mirrors with protective film that prevents shards from flying when broken.

Windows, especially those on upper floors, should feature hardware that limits how far they open.

Keep cords for draperies and mini blinds out of reach.

Make sure interiors are well lighted.

Keep lamp cords hidden.

Until children are older, put away knickknacks that are small enough to pose a choking hazard.

To spot potential dangers to small children in the kitchen, or any room, consider the space from their point of view. For example:

Buy a stove with controls on top, not on the side.

Turn handles of pots away from the edge of the stove when cooking. And, install a pot guardrail on the front edge of the stove.

Keep small appliances stored and latched in upper cabinets or in an appliance garage.

Don't let appliance cords dangle from countertops when in use. Unplug appliances not in use.

Always install a latch on a deep freezer. Latches are also available for refrigerator doors.

Children love to play in and around water, but child's play can lead to mishaps without the following precautions:

Never leave a child unattended in the bathroom, not even for a minute.

Because children can drown in very small amounts of water, install latches on all toilet lids.

Install grab bars in the tub and shower. Faucet parts should be shatter resistant and have no sharp edges.

Provide a sturdy step stool to raise children high enough to easily reach faucets and countertops.

Install hardware on the bathroom door that can be unlocked from either side of the door.

To prevent children from entering the bathroom unsupervised, keep the door closed. Also, cover the knob with a safety sleeve that requires an adult grip to open.

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