Childproofing: 6 Hidden Dangers You Might Have Missed

Childproofing: 6 Hidden Dangers You Might Have Missed

When your first baby becomes mobile it seems like there’s danger everywhere.  You probably have the childproofing basics covered  – chemicals locked up, baby gates installed, furniture anchored, outlets covered, etc.  But what about the less obvious dangers?

With three kids, I’ve become very aware of the less obvious dangers lurking around our house.  There are certain things that kids seem to find irresistible, and of course they always seem to be the dangerous things!  Here are some of the common hazards that we’ve dealt with and how we handled them.

1. Door stops

Baby playing with doorstop

All three of my kids have been obsessed with doorstops.  The spring makes a satisfying “boing” sound that babies find endlessly amusing.  However, ours have a small white plastic cap on the end that comes off quite easily when the kids play with them.  These caps can very quickly make their way into mouths, and are perfectly sized to be a choking hazard.

There are a couple of solutions to childproof doorstops.  You could try superglueing the cap on the doorstop.  Or, if you don’t want to take any chances, there are baby safe doorstops (Canadian link) that are all one piece.  Worth looking into if you have a child that likes to play with the door stops.

2. Heat vents

Baby playing with heat ventWe have floor vents, with removable vent covers.  Once a child gets the cover off, the vent is full of exposed metal and screws, and the open vent is a tempting receptacle for toys.

The first, and easiest solution to babyproof heat vents is to arrange furniture strategically.  While you don’t want to block the airflow, we have been successful covering the vent cover slightly or positioning furniture so it’s out of sight.

When that isn’t an option, you may consider securing the vent cover to the floor.  We used double sided tape to secure our problem vents.  You could also nail or screw them down if you need a sturdier or more permanent solution, or your room is carpeted.

Once the vent covers are secured, our kids have lost interest in throwing toys down the vent (I’m probably jinxing myself by saying that!).  However, if it is an issue for you, consider installing a piece of window screen behind the vent cover to catch any small toys.

Related: Starting Childcare: Tips to Make It Easier

3. Purses, bags and jackets

There are many items in our purses, bags, and jacket pockets that young children shouldn’t get into.  Some items are dangerous – like coins, medicine, and a variety of choking hazards – and other items might just make a huge mess – like makeup.  Yet often we leave our purses or bags within reach of little ones.

The solution to this one is simple – place your purse and bags out of reach, and make sure that jacket pockets aren’t accessible to little ones.  Do the same for visitors to your house – it’s easy for a child to get into something they shouldn’t when the adults are distracted.

4. Dishwashers

Before I had kids I never understood how many hazards can be found within a dishwasher!  They are at the perfect height to be intriguing for crawling babies and new walkers, and are full of sharp objects and detergent that can be very harmful if ingested.  All of our kids wanted to climb up on the open dishwasher as babies – dangerous for them and not the best for the dishwasher either!

To minimize the dangers, keep the dishwasher closed and latched when you’re not using it.  Store dishwashing detergent up high or in a locked cabinet.  Place knives and other sharp objects towards the back of the dishwasher, and load them sharp end down.

Related: 19 Best Toys for One-Year-Olds

5. Drawers

The contents of drawers can be dangerous to young children, but what you may not have thought of is the danger caused by the drawers themselves.  Crawling babies and new walkers love to open drawers, and then they find themselves off-balance and fall forward, pinching their little fingers in the drawers.

The best solution to this that we’ve come up with is to find a way to lock the drawer itself.  If you’re using a drawer lock, you want to make sure that it doesn’t allow the drawer to be opened wide enough for little fingers to get in.  You can also make do with a less-attractive temporary solution, like tape, a ruler or stick wedged in the drawer handles (if you have a column of drawers with open handles), or even removing the knob temporarily.  In our house the danger of falling forward and pinching their fingers was a relatively short-lived stage.

6. Older siblings

Child climbing on chairAs our family has grown, our biggest childproofing hurdle has been our older children.  From toys with small pieces, to food wrappers and balloons, to leaving baby gates open, to pint-sized furniture that’s easy to climb up on, older children can create a lot of hazards for their younger siblings.

Related: First Child versus Second Child: How Parenting Changes

Our older two are pretty good about recognizing safety issues around the house.  We’ve instilled in them the importance of closing the baby gates, and will point out their little sister beelining towards the open staircase if they forget.  If this is an issue in your house, you may want to consider investing in a self-closing baby gate.

Choking hazards are another big concern with older siblings.  We’ve limited Lego and other small toys to a playroom that’s off limits to the baby.  We’ve also taught them the toilet paper tube rule – if it’s small enough to fit in a toilet paper tube it’s a choking hazard.  This is a simple visual that young children can easily understand.  Our boys recognize that small pieces of food wrappers and popped balloons are very dangerous for their little sister, and we make sure those items are picked up right away.

Child-sized furniture can be appealing to a young climber.  While they’re not tall enough to climb up on the adult-sized table or chairs, the child-sized chairs might be just the right height.  There was a period of time in our house that the chairs at the kids’ table were removed, until our middle child got over his climbing phase.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the dangers in our house may not be the same as the hazards in your house.  Every child is different, and while certain things are appealing to most little ones, some children ignore them altogether.  For example, a fridge lock has been a necessity for our younger two, but playing with the fridge wasn’t even on our oldest’s radar.  Address the main dangers in your home, but before you buy every item in the childproofing aisle, pay attention to what your child is actually into.


You've got the childproofing basics covered, but what about the less obvious dangers? Here are 6 childproofing dangers you may have missed, and how to handle them! #childproofing #babyproofing #childsafety #baby #toddler

You've got the childproofing basics covered, but what about the less obvious dangers? Here are 6 childproofing dangers you may have missed, and how to handle them! #childproofing #babyproofing #childsafety #baby #toddler
You've got the childproofing basics covered, but what about the less obvious dangers? Here are 6 childproofing dangers you may have missed, and how to handle them! #childproofing #babyproofing #childsafety #baby #toddler

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