One of the biggest challenges of parenthood is taking yourself out of your adult mindset and attempting to view the world through the eyes of your child so that you can make childproof home improvements.
What may seem perfectly boring or harmless to you offers a universe of interest and potential danger to that new little curious life you’re so busy running after. That’s why childproofing your home is so important. You want your baby to explore and learn, but you don’t want them to get hurt, either. Fortunately, moms and dads have been making their homes childproof for ages, so embrace some simple tips for making your home the safe haven that sets your protective heart at rest.
Childproof by Putting It Up and Latching It
Conduct a survey of anything within your baby’s reach. Think about cosmetics, baby lotions or oils, cleaning agents, sharp utensils, small objects that a baby can fit into his mouth, loose paper, plastic or rubber… you see where this is going. Anything within grasp is a potential hazard. Your best solution for this is to keep unsafe objects off the ground and out of your baby’s reach. Put oils and lotions in a cabinet after use.
But what about those items that you keep in the bottom drawer and under the sink? The answer is simple: safety latches.
This is a simple home improvement and you’ll want to use them absolutely everywhere so baby cannot open (or accidentally slam shut) doors or drawers – remember to also use these on trunks or anything with a raising lid. You can even purchase a latch for the refrigerator, and locks for toilets which present a drowning hazard. Keep in mind that though child-resistant or child-proof objects such as medicines with safety seals seem safe, they’re not 100 percent safe. Keep everything behind latched or locked doors to wipe out any worry.
Set Up Child Safe Roadblocks
Beyond the latch lies other potential areas of danger that must be blocked. These fixes are simple and are easy to deal with on a daily basis, so don’t worry. This is no obstacle course!
Outlet Protectors: Protectors are plastic pieces that plug or cover electrical outlets so baby can’t stick his little finger in the socket. Use large protectors so if under the most incredible circumstances your little one manages to pull one out, the protector does not become a choking hazard. Rest assured, though, most adults have to struggle to remove protectors so you’re in good shape.
Gates, Safety Netting, Window Guards: Use a retractable gate to keep baby from crawling into certain rooms and, most importantly, to keep him away from stairs, which for some reason are endlessly fascinating to baby. Climbing up or down, you can’t keep a new climber off of them.
If you have a swimming pool, set up a safety fence that stretches all the way around the pool with a gate that locks. For areas already fenced off but not quite safe like balconies, put up netting that closes off large openings. Window guards typically consist of mesh and bars to create a barrier between your child and the glass pane.
Cover Those Knobs to Keep Your Child Safe
Once you enter the toddler stage, all bets are off. Your little one will suddenly be reaching for everything, turning knobs and taking an interest in everyday parts of your home you never realized were so interesting. Buy knob covers so your bundle of quickly-moving joy doesn’t wander into or out of rooms at will. You’ll want to purchase knob/dial covers for your stove, as well, particularly if those knobs are placed on the front of the stove. A quick turn of a knob is a major hazard in the kitchen.
Childproof by Getting Down To Eye Level
Ever smacked your leg on the corner of a table? Bed frame? Pointy, sharp corners of furniture? Purchase corner and edge bumpers to cover any and all potentially dangerous areas for a fun, worry-free play space.
Pay attention to the tip-factor as well. Anything that can be pulled on or climbed upon and potentially tip over becomes quite dangerous. Use anchors for things like stoves, furniture, televisions and free-standing cabinets to make sure they remain against the wall and flat on the floor, you may want to bring in a handyman to do these installations to prevent potential accidents..
Remove Window Cords
Window coverings such as blinds often come with cords to bevel and lift – though newly manufactured products are often cordless, you may not want to replace every single window covering in your home. If this is the case, check out the Window Covering Safety Council. It offers free kits to make your windows safe so this choking hazard becomes one less thing on your mind. If you are not comfortable doing the window covering installations yourself you can bring in an expert window covering installer.
Protect everyone in the family from accidental burns by using anti-scald devices which reduce water flow when temperatures exceed safe limits. Use these on showers, baths and sink faucets. However, turning down your water heater setting to less than 49 degrees Celsius will also aid in preventing such accidents.
While parenthood doesn’t come with a simple checklist, it’s a relief to know that home improvements to childproof your home do. Take care of the little things that may pose a threat to your child’s safety so you can take a big sigh of relief and enjoy every precious moment.
By Tarah Damask
Do you have any home improvement tips to childproof your home? Tell us about them in the comment section below.