The term, “childproofing,” is a misnomer. The object is not to prevent children from entering your home – it’s to keep them safe after they enter your home, and it’s something to think about even if you don’t have toddlers of your own. Because chances are you will eventually have grandchildren, nieces or nephews as houseguests. Here are a few things to do that will make your home a safer place for youngsters.
Some everyday items can be dangerous in little hands. That’s why you should use safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers where medicines, household cleaners, matches and knives are stored. Check your local retailers for safety latches and locks that are easy to install, but tough enough to resist persistent preschoolers.
You can use safety gates to keep children out of those “off-limits” rooms where they might get hurt. They’re also a good idea at the top of stairs to prevent falls. Just make sure gates at the top of stairs are securely screwed into the wall.
As for swimming pools, use as many layers of protection as possible. There should be a barrier completely surrounding the pool that is a minimum of four feet high, with self-closing, self-latching gates. If your house serves as one side of that barrier, all doors and windows on that wall should have alarms installed.
Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent burns. You can also install anti-scald devices from your local hardware store. To help prevent possible shock or electrocution, place outlet covers everywhere within a child’s reach.
To prevent strangulation, do not allow mini blind cords to loop. For older mini blinds, cut the cord loop and remove the buckle. Then place a tassel at the end of each cord and secure them to a cleat high on the wall.
You’ll find more ways to “childproof” your home at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at: www.cpsc.gov.