Expecting a new addition to the family, or moving to a new home with your children? Childproofing your home is an important step in preparing it for its new, young and curious residents.
That’s why we’ve put together this quick and easy checklist of five baby-saving – as well as home-saving – tips, to help put your mind at rest that they will always be safe at home, even when your back is turned.
- Establish your home’s kid-free zones
There may be some areas of your home to which you know, ideally, your children should never be allowed to gain access unsupervised. These areas may vary home to home, but might include stairways, the kitchen, or a section of outdoor space in which you will be storing gardening tools or a barbeque, or will include a swimming pool.
Once you have decided what these areas might be for you and your family, explore ideas for blocking them off with baby safety gates, for example, or even with additional doors and catches. Fortunately, there is currently a wide range of baby gates on the market that cater for most room or doorway widths or can blend in with your décor preferences. It’s important to remember to accurately measure the area in which you wish to install the gate, and to select one that includes the relevant mounting hardware for the location. You might even consider a gate that offers added safety features such as a two-way opening door, double-locking mechanisms or auto-closing hinges.
- Think power outlets
These days, most homes have power outlets available on almost every wall of your home. But, while this may be convenient for you, each one also represents the danger of electrical shock to your child if left uncovered.
To conceal these outlets, you could opt to cover the sockets with furniture, if you know that the socket or plug does not need to be regularly accessed, such as those positioned behind a television or connecting a lampshade behind a table.
However, this approach is not advisable for sockets in regular use, since movable furniture brings its own dangers, both to children and adults. Instead, unused sockets can be covered with inexpensive power socket covers that are widely available on the market and may even make them more aesthetically pleasing when not in use.
- Address the corners and tight spots
It’s incredible how the prospect of bringing an infant into your home makes you suddenly aware of quite how many sharp corners and finger-squashing hinges it has. As with all aspects of childproofing your home, however, there are plenty of solutions already available that mean you can hold off selling that glass-top coffee table with pointed corners for the time being.
Corner guards and edge bumpers can be purchased and easily applied to sharp corners and edges of furniture, as well as to any protruding features of your home, such as the fireplace or mantlepiece. You might also consider investing in doorstops and door holders as well, so as to keep your little one’s fingers from getting trapped in closing doors or hinges, and some window guards to provide extra reassurance.
- Secure drawers and cabinets – especially those with hazardous contents
There will undoubtedly be cupboards or drawers in your home that contain items hazardous to your children, such as under the kitchen sink with cleaning chemicals, a cutlery drawer with sharp knives or scissors, or a cupboard with a rubbish bin within it.
To ensure your little ones can’t satisfy their curiosity and access these harmful items – as well as avoid them trapping their fingers in the closure – consider purchasing safety latches and locks, which are often available in easy-to-install kits.
- Make sure high-traffic zones are kid-proof
There are areas of your home that you won’t be able to block off entirely from your children, such as the bathroom, their bedroom, the kitchen or the living room. As such, we recommend that you spend some time in each of these high-traffic areas of your home, to consider and address all possible dangers it could present.
In the bathroom, prevent little one slipping in the bathtub by installing a non-slip mat. You could even add a spout cover to your tap, or have a plumber install an anti-scald device to the taps and showerhead to regulate the water temperature and avoid nasty burns. Children’s bedrooms should likewise have no exposed sockets or loose wires, and any baby monitor should be installed high and out of reach. Your infant’s cot should also be placed far from any curtain cords and away from the windows, if possible, and it should be compliant with all fire and child safety standards – as should any bedding or quilts used on it.
Ideally, you will be able to completely block off your kitchen to avoid young children gaining access. But, if this is not possible, then make sure to protect them from hot hobs and ovens by installing hob guards or by using lockable appliance knob covers.
Lastly, your living room should have no hanging window-blind cords or curtain tassels in which your children could become entangled, and likewise no phone cords (consider making all phones cordless instead), to also help you to keep an eye on roaming little ones while you talk.
Speak with a member of the RE/MAX team today for advice and guidance on finding the perfect family home.