Keeping children safe should be a top priority for all parents and caregivers. November is Child Safety and Protection Month, shining a light on the importance of injury prevention and creating safer spaces for kids. Childproofing your home is one critical way you can help protect the little ones in your life.
Childproofing goes beyond just cabinet locks and corner guards. It’s about taking a comprehensive look at potential hazards and risks throughout your home, considering them from a child’s perspective, and addressing dangers before an injury occurs.
Improving your home’s safety won’t only create a safer space for your children; it will also help protect you from liability for injuries to young guests that could occur in your home. Here are some tips to help you childproof your home to create a safer home that gives parents peace of mind.
Be Mindful of Kitchen Dangers
Kitchens can pose a number of threats to children. Hot pans, in particular, can be enticing and very dangerous. If you have to cook around children, it is best to use your stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep all pans with their handles turned in so small hands won’t knock them off the stove.
Understand Water Dangers
Water sources in your home can be a threat to a child’s safety. Even toilets and buckets of water can pose a drowning risk, so make sure that children are always supervised near any source of liquid.
Hot water is another danger you should be aware of. Keep your home’s water heater at a maximum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help reduce the risk of a child suffering burns from a sink or tub.
Check Your Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are crucial for alerting you to leaks and fires as early as possible, but they must be in working order and properly installed to be effective. Make sure to have one alarm per level and test the batteries regularly to ensure they work in each device.
Secure Dangerous Substances
Accidental poisonings are a real safety concern in the home, especially for very young children. When childproofing your home, keep dangerous substances like medicines, supplements, cleaning supplies, art supplies, and other dangerous chemicals locked in a cabinet or stored well out of a child’s reach.
Make sure these items are returned to their rightful places after use for better safety. If you do not have cabinet locks, now is the time to install them.
Lock Your Windows
Windows often pose a fall risk, even if you have bug screens. Children can easily remove such screens with little effort. Low windows, in particular, should be secured with locks, window guards, or wedges. Keeping furniture away from windows can also be helpful. If a window breaks, make sure to board it up or fix it as soon as possible.
Use Outlet Covers
Open electrical sockets can pose an electrocution risk, especially if children play with them. Outlet covers are simple pieces of plastic that can be quickly plugged into outlets to cover them when not in use, so kids can’t play with them.
Read also: Electrical Safety Tips for Homeowners
Choose the Right Toys
Children should only play with toys that are approved for their particular ages. As a rule of thumb, keep small or breakable toys away from children younger than five, and always watch young children very closely while playing. Other small objects like coins and stones could also pose a choking hazard and should be kept away from little ones.
Use Furniture Anchors
Furniture can pose a serious threat to curious kids who may pull heavy items like shelves and drawers over on themselves. If you have L-shaped brackets that came with your furniture, use them to anchor your taller pieces into your walls.
Install Stair Gates
Stairs are especially dangerous for very small children who may walk or crawl up and down stairs before they know how to do so safely. Install a safety gate on each set of stairs to protect little ones from fall hazards.
Childproofing your home helps to ensure that your kids and young guests in your home stay as safe as possible while protecting yourself from potential injury liability claims. However, even the most careful of homeowners can still find themselves in a situation where adequate liability insurance coverage is needed.
Read also: Basic Homeowners Policy Isn’t Always Enough
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