child home safety, child-proofing, and accidental injury prevention in the living room: woman guiding girl away from space heater
Photo: Courtesy of Home Safety Council
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Living Area

"There's been a 47 percent increase of furniture toppling with flat screen TVs now in more homes," says Alison Rhodes of "Pick up some heavy-duty Velcro to add stability to sleek television sets, vases and other things in storage units." Here are some more things you can do to child-proof living and play areas.

• Prevent furniture tip-overs by keeping entertainment and shelving units bottom-heavy. Pack heavy articles in bottom compartments and lighter ones at the top. Also, discourage climbing by not putting anything a kid might want to get to at the top of wall units. Secure furniture to walls with straps or L-brackets, if possible.

Corral cords to reduce strangulation, tripping, and pull-down hazards. "Use wire ties or cord-keepers to attach lamp cords to end table legs," suggests Rhodes. Pick up an easy-install wire management kit, available at home centers, for wall-mounted flat screens, telephone wires and other unwieldy cords.

• Kids under the age of four account for 86 percent of electrical-related deaths and injuries. Individual socket plugs present a new choking hazard if they're popped out. Instead, opt for a complete cover that completely encases sockets, even with items plugged in.

"Spot the tot" before opening or closing recliners and other furniture with moving parts. Don't set hot liquids down on low coffee tables. Consider low-profile corner-edge protectors to soften the impact of bumps.

• Some common houseplants—like Aloe Vera, English Ivy, Hydrangea, and Mistletoe—are toxic and may cause symptoms ranging from mild stomachaches to serious heart and kidney problems if eaten. Read the University of Connecticut's Home & Garden Education Center's Safe and Poisonous Houseplants list, or check with the National Poison Center (800-222-1222) before introducing new plants to your home.

• The National Safety Council warns that radiators, spaceheaters, and heating vents are not always hot. Children can get a false sense of safety after touching a radiator when it's off, and a big ouchie from the same radiator when it's on. Adding a radiator cover is a DIY solution that can lower severe burn risk.

The key to prevention is awareness. If you have another tip or idea, share it in the comment section below.
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