Home Safety Tips for When Your Toddler Starts Walking

One of most exciting milestones in your child’s life is the day he begins walking. Those chubby little legs may be a bit unsteady at first, but before you know it, your toddler will be moving all over the house at speeds you didn’t realize such a tiny person was capable of. From those first few clumsy days until the moment your little one gets the hang of this whole walking thing, safety needs to be a top priority. You cannot prevent every bump and bruise, but you can make some changes to create a happy, healthy environment by using these tips from Pottery Barn Kids.

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If you have stairs in your home, this should be one of the first areas you cover.

  • Keep hardware-mounted baby gates at the top and bottom of your stairs, but don’t rely on them solely to keep your toddler out of trouble. Always monitor your little walker when he’s near the stairs.
  • If your nursery is upstairs, consider keeping a gate at the door as an extra layer of protection.
  • Make sure your stairway is always clear of clutter.
  • If you have a banister railing that your child might fit through, be sure to add a guard.
  • When your toddler is ready to navigate the stairs – under supervision – teach him how to climb down backwards.

Next, you want to focus on the rooms where your toddler spends the most time or where there are the most safety hazards, such as the nursery, kitchen and bathroom.

For the nursery:

  • Move the crib away from windows. Once your toddler starts walking, he’s going to try to start climbing too.
  • Make sure the crib mattress is at the lowest level to prevent climbing
  • Make sure your toddler’s toys are kept in a safe chest or cabinet that doesn’t have a heavy lid to hurt small hands. Be sure it’s a chest that your child cannot crawl into and get stuck inside of.

For the kitchen:

  • Make sure all appliance cords are out of reach, especially items that sit on your counter. Curious toddlers might pull on the cord and knock down appliances, possibly even on top of themselves.
  • Install guards and latches on anything that opens, especially cabinets that contain chemicals, drawers with knives, the oven, the freezer and the refrigerator.
  • Make sure all choking hazards are put away up high or locked up in a cabinet, including small items like refrigerator magnets and toothpicks, as well as any type of plastic bags. You may consider leaving one cabinet unlatched with pots and pans and plastic bowls.

For the bathroom:

  • Keep hot appliances, such as curling irons and hair dryers, put away with the cords out of reach.
  • Add a safety lock to your toilet so your child cannot pull the lid open.
  • Make sure any chemicals, ranging from medications to shampoos, are out of reach or in cabinets and drawers secured with guards or safety locks.
  • Keep all razor blades out of reach.

There’s plenty to do in the rest of the house as well:

  • Window guards on all of your windows prevent them from opening wider than a few inches, which can in turn prevent little hands from opening the windows and climbing outside. Also make sure the cords of your blinds are not within reach.
  • Any heavy furniture or decor should be secure so that your toddler can’t pull it down on top of himself.
  • Wrap up throw rugs that could cause tripping hazards and keep them put away until your little one is steadier.
  • Use outlet covers or heavy furniture to block all electrical outlets.
  • Move breakable objects to the highest possible shelves in your home or pack them away until your toddler is older.
  • Keep rooms that are not walker-proof locked at all times.
  • Put a barrier around hot fireplaces, heaters and furnaces.
  • Keep the floor open and free of any potential tripping hazards like adult shoes.
  • Add soft cushioning or guards to the corners of furniture like the coffee table and anything else with sharp or pointy edges.
  • Check your floors for choking hazards regularly, such as a dropped coin, battery or pill. If your toddler finds it, it will most likely end up in his mouth.
  • Move plants to higher shelves and keep an eye out for dead and falling leaves or flowers.

Of course, your toddler should never be left alone in your yard, but you should still take some safety precautions.

  • Be sure your garage door has a motion sensor that prevents it from closing if movement is detected underneath it.
  • Keep your garage chemicals locked up or out of reach.
  • If you have a pool, make sure it has a fence around it and stays locked at all times. Check with your local government about swimming pools and fencing regulations.

Follow these tips and you are well on your way to creating a healthy, safe environment for your kids to play and explore.