About 2.5 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year. Many of these accidents could have been prevented by simple child-safety devices to child proof your home. You can have child safety devices professionally installed or you can purchase them yourself and do it for a fraction of the cost. Here are some tips to child proof you home.
Safety Latches and Locks
Cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas can be kept secure with safety latches and locks. This will help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety latches keep cleaning supplies, medicines and sharp objects out of reach of children who are curious. Remember that a latch will be pulled and tugged on constantly so it needs to be durable. Also, the latch is only effective if you remember to keep it latched. Adults and older children can forget to use the latch, which makes it ineffective.
You can help prevent falls down steps or keep your children away from dangerous areas with safety gates at the doorways. Look for safety gates and fencing that is sturdy and won’t easily dislodge. For gates at the top of the stairs, gates that screw into the walls are more secure than pressure gates. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) provides safety standards certification seals on products that are deemed safe. If you have an older gate be aware of the “V” shaped holes that might be large enough for a child to get their head stuck in.
Door Locks and Alarms
Using door locks to keep children from entering rooms or exiting the house can prevent many dangers. Doorknob covers are effective for smaller children but older children often figure them out.
Keep access to the swimming pool secure at all times. Door locks, alarms and fencing can help. Never let your child swim alone even if they are avid swimmers. Sliding glass doors should have automatic locks that re-lock upon entry. Keep a cordless phone by the pool and avoid distractions that would take you away from the pool area.
Other Devices to Child Proof Your Home
Anti-scald devices and keeping your water heater thermostat set at 120 degrees will prevent most burns from faucets from occurring.
Keep Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors in place with good batteries. Test them once a month to ensure they are in working order.
Use window guards and safety netting to prevent falls from the windows or balconies, decks and landings. These devices should be installed correctly and periodically checked to make sure they are still in good condition. Bars should be less than 4 inches apart.
Use bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls on sharp edges of furniture or fireplaces.
Cover electrical outlets with covers that stay secure and can’t be easily swallowed if they are removed.
Use cordless blinds on all your windows. If you cannot afford to replace older blinds, cut the blinds or tie them securely out of the reach of your children. When purchasing new blinds or draperies, ask for safety features that prevent strangulation. Never place a crib or bed near a window.
Your Home Inspection Expert
These home devices can help prevent many accidents. Children are by nature quick and curious. As hard as we try, watching them continually is impossible. If you have questions about child safety or child proofing your home, call Hope’s Home Inspection and they will be happy to help.