How to Childproof your Home
February 3, 2021
One of the biggest questions that arises when you decide to childproof your home, is where do I begin? When you take a look at your home and consider the myriad of possible dangers and risks, it can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, there are a lot of online sources of information, and this article is intended to act as a primer to help you start the process.
So, before we get into the how, let’s quickly look at the why. The first and foremost reason to childproof your home is obviously the protection of your children but completing a home safety audit and putting the relevant measures in place is also a massive boon for parents. It leads to more peace of mind when at home, allowing you to focus on the many other responsibilities you have as a parent.
In this article we will first be looking at how to approach childproofing your home, before moving on to a room-by-room look at major risks you need to be mindful of.
Making sure your home is childproof
Let’s go back back to the question we asked earlier, where to begin? Firstly, it is especially important to understand the risks that are found in your home. Many dangers or accident causes are universal and are found in every home, while some are specific to certain neighborhoods or areas. It is also important to understand the developmental stage of your child – the age, sex and maturity of your child is a factor in determining which risks are the most important at a particular stage.
One good strategy is to start with a home safety checklist, like this one compiled by Kathleen Cronin, who is an attending physician in the Department of Pediatrics at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Every year children are admitted to hospitals with similar injuries and by understanding these high risk zones in the home, you are giving your family the best chance to avoid an accident.
High risk home zones
High-risk zones are areas in the home that are most often the cause of injuries. They may vary from home to home, for instance a home with a pool and garden is going to have different risks to an apartment in a high rise, but many dangers are universal and will be found in most homes. Four common risks common to almost every home are water, heat, toxins and heights. While there are many other types of hazards, aiming to eliminate the risks associated with these four high risk zones represents a good starting point when starting operation “Childproof your Home”.
Water dangers are anywhere in the home where there is a risk of drowning. This can include the pool, the kitchen basin, the bathroom. For all these dangers precautions can be taken, but the golden rule is to make sure your child is well supervised if they are around water regardless of the depth.
Heat dangers are anywhere a child might receive burns or scalds. Heat dangers are found all over the home – in the bathroom with hot water; in the kitchen when using the oven or stove; or around the grill in the backyard. Matches and lighter also pose heat dangers and these should always be kept safely stored away.
Toxic substances don’t just refer to chemicals such as cleaning products, pesticides, or pool acids. They refer to anything that may pose a poisoning risk, which also include prescription drugs and poisonous plants. The general rule of thumb is to always keep these substances under lock and key, where your little ones can’t get to them.
Finally, heights are any area of the home that poses a fall risk. The most obvious high-risk zones are around stairs and windows, but even a relatively small fall can have serious consequences. Areas like the kitchen counter, tables and even sharp edges all pose risks and need to be considered as part of your child home safety plan.
As mentioned, there are many other risks that don’t fall neatly into these four categories, but these should provide a good starting point when auditing your home. Before we move onto the room-by-room tips, we want to share one of the golden rules of child home safety with you.
Keep items out of reach
There are many risks around the home that can be completely mitigated by keeping them out
of reach of children, preferably locked away. Sharp objects, choking hazards, cleaning products and matches all fall into this category, but the list of dangers that can be packed away is almost endless.By having certain safe storage areas where you can pack these items instead of leaving them around the house you will be making your childproofing measures so much more effective. If your house doesn’t have drawers or cabinets that can be locked, you can purchase various safety catches online, that will help you keep your house safer.
Child home safety room by room
Next we’d like to look at each part of the house room by room to highlight the major risks found there and give some tips on how to make them safer.
Childproofing your Kitchen
In the kitchen you will find almost all of the risks we mentioned above. Water dangers around the sink, heat dangers around the stove, toxins around the cleaning products and heights from kitchen counters.
A lot of these can be completely eliminated by locking away the hazards as well as restricting access to the kitchen counter. If a child climbs on the counter they have access to knives, the stove top and also risk falling, so this is a good starting point.
It is also important to make sure that sharp edges and corners are covered with suitable childproof padding to prevent injuries from bumping into these.You can refer to this checklist, to complete a full audit of your kitchen.
Living room child safety
The living room is all about entertainment and consequently the risks in this room often relate to electronics and wiring.
It is a good rule throughout the house to ensure that electrical outlets are covered and wires are secure, but this is most important in the living room.It is also important to ensure anything your child may climb is securely anchored. This includes the television (which should be securely mounted or secured with safety straps) but also things like cabinets or bookshelves that can be pulled over.
Bathroom child safety
Because drownings are such a serious issue and can happen so quickly, no bathroom safety measure is a substitute for a vigilant parent. Parents should supervise their children during bath times, including running the water to make sure it isn’t too hot.
Avoid leaving puddles that can be slipped in, and place slip resistant mats in key areas to add that extra layer of safety. Also make sure, there is no way for your child to reach the medicine cabinet or that is securely locked.For a full bathroom safety checklist click here.
Childproofing your windows and doors
Childproofing your windows and doors is often regarded as one of the more difficult and expensive childproofing measures, but it is one of the most important. The complexity lies in the different styles, finishes and custom installation of windows and doors, which make it almost impossible to find a “one size fits all” solution.
LockLatch, a lockable latch that allows you to keep your windows or doors ajar, is one product that holds a potential solution. The LockLatch has many advantages when used as a child proofing device. It can be easily installed on just about any window or door in minutes, while it’s adjustable design means you can control the size of the opening or close the relevant opening when you desire, as in the case of unpleasant weather.
So why would you need a LockLatch when you childproof your home? Let’s find out below.
Window safety for children
With windows the major consideration is injuries relating to falls. Even a small fall can be profoundly serious, but this is even more important in multi-storey homes. However, if you always keep your windows and doors closed you are restricting the flow of clean air through your home leading to wellness and wellbeing problems. LockLatch allows you to get this important ventilation, but also completely stops small children opening or climbing through the window.
Door safety for kids
The reason for keeping your door open is, more often than not, for ventilation, but an open door poses a security risk, while there is also the danger of your child wandering out of the home. LockLatch can be adjusted so that your child can’t get out of the house and intruders can’t get in while still letting fresh air into your house. It also prevents injuries relating to slamming doors by making sure the door can’t be caught by a gust of wind, or accidentally slammed.
Why not make LockLatch the first thing you install, when you start to childproof your home, and make it that little bit safer for you and your family.