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Step One

Step 1: Child-Proof the Living Room
Since it's the meeting area, the living room is a place for friends and their children to congregate. Unfortunately, it's often an area with many valuable or sentimental items as well.

Look for any items on tables or within a toddler's reach, or on top of a platform that could be shaken or knocked over. Relocate these items to higher ground or to a locked room or closet.

Here are some particulars to watch out for:

  • Cord yanking: If something can be pulled, you can bet toddlers will pull on it.

    Also of concern: children can choke on mini-blind cords, so keep these out of reach.

    For electronics and appliances, tie the various electrical cords together or keep them together inside an old telephone cord. This will make them inconspicuous and less likely to appear as playthings. Another alternative is to use cord shorteners, available at most hardware stores.

  • Lid closing: To avoid squishing little fingers in the lids of chests or pianos, glue a few pieces of a resilient material (e.g., cork or thick felt) on the lid to keep it from slamming shut.
  • Plant pulling: Keep all floor and hanging plants out of reach. Even if the child isn't hurt by knocking it over, you'll have a big mess on your hands.
  • Bookcase tumbling: If you have a slightly wobbly or top-heavy bookcase, consider securing it to the wall. Use shelf brackets screwed to the side or top of the bookcase, and then screwed to the wall.

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