As a parent of young children, making your home a child-safe environment is an essential task to ensure the well being of your little ones. But, with never ending sources of information and advice it can also be a daunting task that leaves you unsure of where and how to start.
What many parents don't realize is that a lot of the key aspects of readying your home to be safe for children can be done quickly and without much incurred cost.
In the kitchen
- Store knives, scissors and any other sharp utensils and kitchen gadgets in a drawer with a child proof latch. Instead of buying a latch, consider using an elastic wrapped around your kitchen hardware so that your child cannot open drawers or cupboards. Of course, not all hardware will lend itself to this economical latch solution. (To make this effective with hardware on a drawer, wrap the elastic band between the drawer pull and the hardware on a lower cupboard door.)
- Remember to always turn pot handles on a stove inward so that a toddler is not able to reach up and grab the handle.
- Glass objects, appliances, matches and lighters should all be stored out of well out of reach or in a secure place.
- Make sure that dishwasher and oven doors stay locked so that children cannot open them.
In the bathroom
- Put a latch on the toilet to prevent your child from opening it. Yes, this is one item you will have to purchase but it is a worthwhile investment to protect the safety of your child, as well as avert you from having to fish out your phone/wallet/watch, which is where we can guarantee they will end up without this in place.
- To children, a lot of medications and vitamins look like candy. Keep all prescription and over-the-counter medications in a secure cupboard and out of sight.
- Do not leave razors out in the open. Keep them on a high shelf or in a secure spot.
- If you have access to it, lower your water heater's temperature to approximately 48 degrees Celsius. This will prevent any accidental burns from hot water at bath time.
- If your bathroom door can be locked from the inside, make sure you are able to unlock from it the outside.
- Protect your child's head from potential bumps by covering the bath spout. There are a variety of covers available for purchase, or you can find a plastic container (think yogurt or peanut butter) that fits snug over your bath spout.
- If you do not already have one, purchase a slip-resistant mat for your tub. This safety feature is not only beneficial to protecting the well-being of your child, but your own as well.
In the bedroom
- Keep any furniture that your child might climb on away from windows, particularly windows with blinds. The cords for these window treatments can be a serious hazard for young children. The Children's Health and Safety Association of Canada provides window safety kits for vertical and horizontal blinds. To obtain one of these kits visit www.safekid.org.
- Make sure that dressers, bookshelves and other similar furniture cannot tip over by securing it to a wall.
Around the house
- Verify that any houseplants are non-toxic. If you are unsure, remove the plant.
- Purchase covers to place over electrical outlets.
- Always keep doors to basements and garages locked. If you do not have a door leading to your basement, put a baby gate at the top of the stairs leading to it.
- For rugs on wood or tile flooring, place a slip-resistant adhesive pad under the rug to keep it from sliding when your child is crawling and walking.
- Keep all cleaning products in a secure place where your curious little one will not be able to grab them.
By Erin Kelly