Childproofing Info Asheville NC
If you’ve got guests coming into town with kids under age 5, and you have an empty nest or kids that are old enough to know better, you may be a little nervous about how safe the little ones will be, and, quite frankly, what they’ll get into, during their visit. Sure, you’re a responsible person; you store your knives in a drawer and keep your medications in a secure cabinet. But put yourself at a toddler’s eye level and a whole new world of unsafe temptations appears.
With a little common sense and a few minor purchases, there are many easy, relatively inexpensive—even free—things you can do to kid-proof your home temporarily without causing too much interruption to your daily household routine. Before you start, check with your guests to find out their concerns, and to see what items they might be able to bring with them.
One of the easiest things you can do to childproof a room is to prevent a child from entering it in the first place. Door knob covers make it tough for little hands to get a grip, turn, and open doors. Lever-type door handles are a bit more expensive, but also are available.
Door stops and door holders can help prevent small fingers and hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door hinges. These handy devices usually run about $4. They are especially useful for heavy Arcadia doors, which can be very unforgiving when shut too quickly by little hands.
If you’ve got stairs, this is one area you may have to invest a little bit of money into to protect. Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of all staircases, and be sure they're installed correctly. Avoid accordion style safety gates with large openings that children could fit their heads through. Pressure-mounted gates that don’t require any drilling into your walls are usually the best option for a temporary barrier.
Adjustable, portable child safety gates are also useful in barricading heavy furniture that poses a climbing hazard, or to block other entry points throughout the house. A fireplace gate is a great way to keep kids out of your fireplace and at a safe distance when you have a fire going.
Safety gates usually run in the neighborhood of $13–$40. You may be able to find gently-used baby gates at garage sales or online resale marketplaces for a fraction of their original cost.
If you don’t like the idea of covering door knobs or barricading rooms, you need to get a little more hands-on with your childproofing measures. After all, you don't want little ones opening bathroom or kitchen cabinets that may hold unsafe products.
For a temporary means of securing your cabinets, consider getting an external lock. These plastic locks, which run between $2 and $4, fit over the pulls of cabinets. Their tight, noose-like fit over the knobs prevents a child from opening them. A quick-release system offers easy access for adults.
An internal cabinet and drawer lock can be more difficult to install than an external lock, and they generally requires some drill work into your cabinet or drawer. For a temporary fix, your best bet is to aim high. In other words, if there is something that could pose a health or safety hazard to a child, remove it from its location, and store it in an out-of-reach shelf or cabinet.
The Shocking Truth
One of the least expensive, easiest, and most important things you can do to childproof your home is to purchase electrical outlet covers. These white, beige, or clear plastic covers have two plastic prongs that fit into the electrical outlet to cover it up and prevent small fingers from poking small metal objects into it. You can usually pick up a pack of 30 for about $3. Buy the best quality you can afford. Be sure the device covers the entire outlet and that it is thick and sturdy, so that it can’t be easily pulled out.
While you’re working on the outlet covers, take notice of your electrical cords. Pipe cleaners are a quick, inexpensive tool for securing long cords. Use sturdy duct tape to secure cords to the floor or wall.
Clear the Clutter
You were going to clean the house for your guests, anyway, right? If you want to minimize risk of injuring a child or developing a case of indigestion due to a broken vase, this might be a good time to remove some of the temptations in your décor. Your guests likely won’t miss them and will be thankful they don’t have to constantly reprimand their child for coming into contact with your valuables.
You know the old saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” Well, that doesn’t apply when it comes to childproofing your home. Nearly 2/3 of children who choke to death are 3 years of age or younger. Aside from food and toys, small items left around the house cause many injuries. Get down on your hands and knees and check the floor of each room. Look under the bed and in the bathroom, and look for any potential choking hazards—coins, staples, safety pins, buttons, or other small objects a small child might swallow. Check under the furniture and between cushions as well. As a rule of thumb, discard any object less than 1 in. wide and 2 in. long.
Soften Those Edges
If you have a lot of furniture with sharp edges, consider using corner and edge bumpers. They help prevent injuries from falls against sharp or rough edges. For a temporary fix, look for the self-adhesive brands that you can stick on and remove—with a little elbow-grease—when you no longer need them. The cost of a corner and edge bumper is $1 and up.
Other Things to Consider
To a crawling baby or active toddler, your home brings new things to explore and investigate. Since most young children prefer doing that with their mouths or their hands, you have your work cut out for you in securing your home. Here are some more general safety tips and suggestions for maximizing your child-proofing efforts:
- Install a stove guard and knob covers to prevent accidental burns.
- Turn down your water heater to 120° to prevent scalding.
- Place non-slip mats on the floor and in the bathtub.
- Unplug electric appliances while not in use.
- Cover the trash container.
- Use a TV guard to cover the buttons and controls.
- Secure shelves and bookcases to the wall. Aquariums, freestanding bookshelves, floor lamps, and stereo equipment can be potential tipping objects.
- Store dangerous cleaners, chemicals, and other products in locked cabinets.
- Install gates, safety netting, and bars on balconies, decks, and pools.
- Place nightlights in dark places.
- Install window locks and guards.
- Shorten drape and blind cords.
- Make sure smoke alarms are working properly.
You can find most child-proofing items at hardware stores, baby equipment shops, discount stores, and through online catalogs. Any safety device you buy should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to the child, yet easy for you to use. Remember, too, that no device is completely childproof; nothing compares to adult supervision.
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