Most people don’t think of child-proofing their homes unless they have an infant or toddler of their own. This may seem to make sense, but in reality many homeowners – including those who don’t have small children of their own – are wise to take measures to protect young children from potential hazards in their house. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends of people with young children may all find themselves in a situation where child-proofing is absolutely necessary. Here are a few quick pointers on how to go about making your home child-friendly.
Most people are familiar with the obvious procedures… receptacle and door knob covers, safety gates, etc. But many people aren’t familiar with what else can be done to make their home safer for children.
Beyond the already mentioned safety guards, you can take many additional, helpful measures. You can install cushioned corner guards on your coffee table, fireplace hearth extension, and other areas with sharp corners in case a child falls or runs into the corners. Securing bookcases into wall studs with appropriate hardware, such as simple L brackets, will prevent the bookcases from falling if a toddler crawls into them and could otherwise tip them over. As a general rule, anything that could be hazardous and is low and within reach of a child should be moved to a higher location that the child can’t access.
If you currently store cleaning products under your kitchen or bathroom sink like most people, you can move them to higher cabinetry or shelving so they are out of reach as they are toxic. I, myself, got ahold of a bottle of lamp oil when I was three years old, drank it and developed pneumonia! Don’t let the same thing happen to a child in your home. Instead, store pots, pans and hand towels in these areas, which are not nearly as likely to cause physical harm. In addition, you can install plastic latches on your cabinet doors that are easily pressed down for adults to open but not so easy for children to access.
To properly child-proof your home, you really need to think like a toddler. Assume that anything at a low level and anything graspable is something that small children WILL be curious about and touch. Keep floors and anything in the lower half of rooms generally clean, free of clutter, and covered when necessary.
One handy safety device that you may not know exists is a child safety toilet lock. A lever attaches to the top of the toilet seat and locks into a mechanism mounted to the toilet tank. Yes, it’s pretty unsightly, but it’s better than having a toddler fall into the toilet or hit their head with the seat.
Be sure, as well, to always close exterior doors so a child can’t crawl outside and fall or get injured in another way. Ensure that all attached exterior areas (porches, decks, balconies, and so forth) have sturdy and properly installed railings and properly spaced spindles to prevent children from falling or getting their head stuck IF, by some chance, they do happen to find their way outside.
Last but not least, be cautious in protecting your children if you have pets. Many pets are great, and even protective, with children and seem to instinctively know that small children are fragile and easily hurt. Still, a simple scratch can hurt a small child quite a bit, and proper precautions and constant supervision are a must when toddlers and animals are together.
I hope this article has provided you with some extra food for thought that you may have not previously known about or considered for child-proofing your home. Feel free to leave any additional insights and helpful tips you may have discovered on your own!
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