The average American parent spends $12,000 on the first year of their child’s life. That amount increases to about $12,500 per year around the second year of the child’s life, when baby proofing happens. With all of the necessary expenses needed to raise your little one, any way you can save money is going to be helpful.

We’ve found three free tips you can incorporate to increase your child’s safety at home. These preventative measures are especially helpful if you’re renting, which 35 percent of U.S. families are, because they don’t require making any changes to the property. Nothing below requires drilling or hammering, which comes in handy if you want to make as few of installments as possible that you’ll have to take down when you move out.

1. Stove Safety:

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, “ranges and ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms” in 2009, with approximately 5,600 of these happening to children 5-years-old and younger. To help prevent this from happening to your little one, you can focus your cooking to the back burners on your range so little fingers can’t touch the hot burners. If using a front burner, be sure to turn the handles away from the edge or use pots/pans without handles. This will help prevent the child being burned by hot food pouring down on them after pulling on a handle. To take it one step further and avoid the situation in general some childhood experts also recommend placing chairs to form a barrier or moving your baby gate to the kitchen to keep little ones away while you’re cooking.

2. Protective Positioning:

Babycenter.com lists windows as a prime location for childhood accidents. No matter how feng shui it may be, don’t position the baby’s crib near the window because being near one increases the odds of children being strangled by blind cords or falling out the window. Besides analyzing crib placement, be sure to keep anything heavy or sharp out of your toddler’s reach (fire pokers, sharp book ends, etc.) that they could throw at the window to break it into a sharp and dangerous mess. Lastly, take one final look and see if there are enough toys, books or other stackable items that they could use to climb up to the window or window sill.

3. Fight Fireplace Falls:

Fireplaces are beautiful and cozy, unless you’re a baby or toddler. The sharp corners and hard surfaces are prime fall locations. Gates large enough to cover the appropriate area are cumbersome and often take up more of your living space than you’d want so those aren’t an ideal fix. Instead of purchasing something you’ll have to take down when you move, use what you’ve already got. Take a few of your child’s interlocking play mats and position them over the top and sides of the fireplace being sure to weave them together without any holes little fingers could pull them apart by. These naturally soft insulators will cushion any fall, and your child can play with them when not in use.

These three simple tasks can help you keep your child safe and avoid any disasters. The Center for Disease Control reports that “every year, nearly nine million children ages 0–19 are treated for injuries in emergency departments and more than 225,000 require hospitalization at a cost of around $87 billion in medical and societal costs.”

Even once you master these techniques, remember that no baby proofing can replace the watchful eye of a parent. Hopefully these tips will help keep your child safe and leave your home or rental property with less holes to patch.

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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