How to Childproof Your Home How to Childproof Your Home
Approximately 2-1/2 million children are injured or killed each year by hazards in the home. A good many of these accidents could have been avoided if some simple precautions are put into place. Most of these tips are very common sense ideas, but are things many new parents don't ever think of. And all of them fit the budget of just about every one. Let's look at a few.
Always use a cordless phone in a home with a small child. If you receive a lot of phone calls, then a cordless phone allows you to keep an eye on children in wading pools, the bathtub, or any other potentially dangerous area. With a cordless, you don't need to leave the area in which a child is playing to answer the phone. Simply carry the cordless with you.
Always attach safety catches and locks on cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, bathroom, and any other area of the home where potentially hazardous materials are stored. This helps prevent children from accessing such hazards as cleaning supplies, medicines, and sharp knives and other sharp objects. Although they are not entirely childproof, they can make it very difficult for children to easily access hazardous materials. Even though packaging may have childproof protection, always lock it away from children until it is needed.
Smoke alarms are one of the easiest ways to protect your children. One should be installed in every area of the home, including the basement and utility area. If battery operated, change the battery ever year. A good reminder is when daylight savings time goes into effect. Consider investing in a 10 year battery. Always make it a routine to check on a regular basis to insure it is working properly. Don't fall into the trap of just removing the battery from the smoke detector when it begins to chirp, indicating a low battery.
Use outlet covers and plates to help prevent electrocution. Be sure to get the type that is not easy for little fingers to pry out of the socket. Also, insure that the cover is large enough to prevent a choking hazard.
Window blind cords manufactured before 2001 can be a potential choking hazard to young children. On older blinds that have a looped draw cord, cut the cord at the loop, remove the equalizer buckle, and install tassels on the cord ends. Be sure to securely fasten the tassels to prevent choking hazard. If installing new blinds or draperies, ask for safety features to prevent strangulation. Use a tie down device when ever possible, insuring that the cords have proper tension and the device is firmly attached to the floor or wall.
Always use safety gates to prevent falls down stairs, and to keep children away from areas that may prove hazardous. Gates that screw to existing door frames are the best bet - pressure gates are no where as secure as the hinged ones. Be leery of the older gates that utilize V shapes in their construction. a child's head may fit through these openings, especially if fully extended. Always look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) seal on any new safety gates you purchase.
Make good use of door knob covers. Door knob covers are designed so that young children cannot turn the knob, but an adult has easy access to any room protected in case of an emergency. Look for covers that have a lock guard feature to prevent accidental lockout. These covers are a great way to deny access to such areas as utility rooms, bathrooms where children may access medicines or cleaning supplies, and any room of the house that is hazardous to a young child. Use in addition to a door alarm to prevent access to a swimming pool. Always place door locks to a swimming pool in a location high enough so a child cannot reach them.
Use anti-scald devices on faucets and shower heads. Be sure to check the temperature of the water coming from your water heater - it should never be over 120 degrees. Anti-scald devices ends the problem of young children being burned by water that is too hot. Some devices may need to be installed by a plumber.
Use window safety guards and safety netting to prevent falls from windows, balconies, and landings. If installed properly, they can prevent serious falls. Always insure that at least one window in a child's room can is easily accessible in case of fire. Use fire safety stickers, available from your fire department, to identify the window where a child may be sleeping. Before installing window guards, insure that there is no more than 4 inches between bars to prevent a child's head from being stuck.
Use corner and edge guards to prevent injuries from falls. They are available for furniture and for hearth edges, install easily, and prevent injury from sharp or rough edges. They are readily available, inexpensive, and come in both clear and color for your decorating needs.
All items and suggestions in this article are inexpensive to buy and install. Be sure to read manufacturer instructions on installation, and if there are older children in the home, make sure they replace any guard removed for access. Always remember, no matter how safe your home is, no installation is truly childproof. Determined children can figure out how to access just about anything. Always be on guard to protect your child's safety.