We all know that we have to ‘kid-proof’ our homes when we have young children around. However, apart from covering up the electrical outlets & ensuring the tots don’t fall into the toilet, what other ways of protecting our littlest inhabitants are there?
Stairs are kind of a danger to many of us, but we forget that kids can not only fall down, but also get their heads stuck in the railings or between certain types of stairs. According to Brightnest, “(t)o make sure that your stairs are safe for kids, we recommend the “tennis ball test.” If a tennis ball can fit between the balusters (also called spindles and stair sticks), a small child can also fall through that space.” It’s also wise to have a ‘kiddy-gate’ to protect the very little ones from climbing up when you’re not around (although, don’t prevent them from ever climbing up, as they’ll need to do this eventually. Just keep your eyes on them), and also to ensure that the banister is properly secured, as the little primates do enjoy a good swing from it when they get the chance.
Cords for blinds or curtain ties can be dangerous. Additionally, open windows with no burglar guards can be a big hazard for children. Falling through or falling against them & breaking the panes can be serious, so we recommend that if you don’t have smash-proof window film, get some. Also, add burglar bars to your windows to not only keep intruders out, but your children in! If you don’t like the look of burglar bars, try Thorne’s polycarbonate (transparent) burglar bars, InvisiBars™.
We’ll provide an in-depth look at Online Safety & Children later, but for now, it’s just important that you take care not to become so awed at your child’s tech-abilities that you forget to put barriers in place to protect them when online. Most kids have access to mobile phones & computers, and though you can’t protect them from everything online, you can certainly try to do so at home. Protective software like Net Nanny or AVG Family Safety are two of many tools you could purchase to protect your kids from some of the most harmful sites out there. In addition, ensure you monitor your kids while they are online to prevent them from (among other things), dangerous persons making contact, cyber-bullying, and more.
We mentioned outlet covers in a previous post, and they’re very important – particularly for those with young kids around. You can pick up some covers from Pick n Pay or Baby City, or most hardware stores. Also check that all your cover plates are securely screwed in, as loose covers are very attractive for curious kids.
Gates & Fences
Ensure that your gates close properly, and that your children can’t climb through gaps in your fencing. With electrical gates, it is ESSENTIAL that you have a sensor which automatically prevents the gate from shutting on anything in the way. This is not only for your children’s sake, but pets & adults too.
This is one of the areas most filled with hazards – from cleaning chemicals to stoves & ovens, sharp tools & slippery tiles. Invest in child locks, slam-proofing, oven protection, among others. Keep your knife block out of reach, and remember that children LOVE to open cupboards & pull things out, taste random items they find, and turn oven knobs.
Test to see if the sensor for your garage door is safe for your child, by putting an object, approximately the size of a baby, in line with the sensor. Flick the switch to close the door, and see how far the door goes. If it closes on the object at all, you need have the sensor changed or fixed, so be sure to check it regularly. This is a common hazard, so don’t forget to do this!