A strong child could push over a pressure-gate and fall...

A strong child could push over a pressure-gate and fall down the stairs. Credit: Dreamstime

We have young children visiting for Christmas. Can you provide a quick child-proofing checklist?

“There’s no substitution for parental supervision,” says Susan Katz, a pediatric injury prevention specialist at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. However, to minimize risks and make the child comfortable, Katz and Lisa Abdinoor, who grew up in Oakdale and is a child-safety expert for the Indiana-based Safety 1st juvenile products company, advise the following:

  • Keep kids away from stairs to prevent falls, Katz says. Don’t depend solely on a pressure-gate at the top of stairs, as some kids are strong enough to push it over, Abdinoor says.
  • Make sure outdoor pools or ponds are covered or inaccessible. “We’re having a really warm season,” Katz says, and the kids may be outside.
  • Consider kitchen cabinet latches for lower cabinets that store cleaning supplies, Abdinoor says. Keep sharp objects “up and away,” she says.
  • Store medications and alcoholic beverages out of reach, Katz says. Store all guests’ pocketbooks or luggage, in which they could be carrying medication, in an inaccessible area.
  • Be mindful of tablecloths. “Young kids pull them down,” Katz says, and could spill hot coffee or hot soup on themselves.
  • Cover electrical outlets with childproof covers and secure cords from blinds to prevent strangling.
  • Remove breakables or choking hazards from coffee tables.
  • Move low-hanging ornaments higher on your Christmas tree.
  • Show the child photos of family members or friends they’ve not met so the faces won’t seem so unfamiliar, Abdinoor recommends.
  • Have parents bring the child’s own carseat to be placed in the car picking them up from an airport.