Welcoming a new child into your home is one of the most joyous pleasures life has to offer you. Of course, the new-found responsibilities of being a parent aren’t far behind the rush of pride. Baby-proofing your home is an important part of setting up a safe and nurturing environment for your children. Here are some quick tips for eliminating common child hazards around the home.
* Furniture Straps
Babies and toddlers will delight in tugging at anything and everything they can get their hands on. Top-heavy pieces of furniture pose a toppling hazard and can cause serious injuries. Use furniture straps at the tops of bookcases and other tall pieces of furniture to prevent accidental tipping.
* Bathroom Safety
Even the cleanest bathroom can be a breeding ground for germs you don’t want to expose your kids to. Many parents like to use a toilet lock to prevent inquisitive youngsters from exploring this unsanitary area. Child-resistant door caps can also be used to close off your bathrooms entirely. Make sure under-sink cabinets are made safe as described below.
Many of the appliances in your kitchen pose a potential threat if unattended children are allowed to fiddle with them. A variety of simple products are available to lock down the knobs and controls of ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, and other appliances. Consult the manufacturer’s directions carefully to ensure you get products which are compatible with your appliances’ makes and models.
* Dangling Blind Cords
The cords you use to raise and lower window blinds present a low-lying choking hazard to young children. You can remove this threat by installing cheap retractors that keep loose cords well above child height.
* Cabinet Security
Under-counter cabinets are wonderfully tempting to young children. When at all possible, make sure you’re not storing anything delicate or dangerous (such as cleaning products) in low-lying cabinets. You can also consider installing aftermarket locks on your cabinets to prevent youthful entry entirely.
* GFI Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets that are close to water should be equipped with ground fault interrupters, or GFIs. GFIs will automatically break the circuit to any plugged-in appliance if it gets wet. GFI outlets are standard in modern kitchens and bathrooms, but older homes may not have these simple safety features. To check your outlets for GFI capability, look for a two-position button (usually colored black and red) mounted in between the outlets.
* Water Heater Settings
You can head off a number of potential accidents by turning down the setting on your hot water heater. Set the maximum temperature to 120 degrees so that there is no risk of exposing your kids to scalding temperatures.
* Explore Your Home At Baby Level
Finally, here’s a useful general tip to root out more potential hazards. Get down on your floor and explore your home at the level your children will be at. From this perspective you’ll get a clear view of many threats you might otherwise miss, including sharp corners on furniture, tripping and choking hazards, and other risks that you can easily remedy.