Whether you’re trying to make your house safer for your child or you’re only now just expecting, you’ve probably been reading a lot of parenting material. But with all of the things you’re trying to remember, you may be forgetting one of the most important steps in becoming a new parent: child-proofing your house. Home is where the heart is, and a child needs a safe environment to live a nurtured life. Here are some easy ways to prepare your current home or remodel your new home to make it more child friendly.
Apply Safer Paint
A fresh paint job can give your home a new life and be stimulating to a young child. But before you can think about repainting the walls, you’ll want to make sure they’re safe for not only your child, but for the rest of your family as well. Many walls that were painted before 1978 contain lead-based mixtures, which can be dangerous when ingested. While lead paint on the wall itself isn’t dangerous, it can easily crack, crumble, and flake, falling onto other surfaces of your home. If that happens, your child might eat or breathe it in, causing poisoning and other serious side effects. If you’re not sure whether your walls contain lead, you can have your house inspected by a certified lead inspector. Because of the dangers involved in removing lead paint, be sure rely on an expert to safely remove the hazardous material.
Install Stronger Gates
Stair gates are an excellent idea, but if they rely on only pressure against the walls to hold them up, they may be too weak to properly protect a child. While pressure-based stair gates are designed to keep your child limited to one area when you’re not looking, your child may be able to break through with little force, depending on the quality of the gate. Or, if you have a pet, especially a larger dog, it also may be able to get through a pressure-based gate with little effort. Thankfully, you can install gates that provide a sturdier barrier. These gates can be affixed to the walls with screws, a method that provides stronger reinforcement, leaving you with a greater peace of mind.
Lock Down Cabinets with Latches
Children are naturally curious about their surroundings, so you only have to turn your back for a moment for them to be where exploring where they shouldn’t be. Places you keep dangerous materials, whether they’re chemicals, medication, or knives, are the places you’ll need to be most careful. While you should remove anything dangerous from a child’s potential reach and put it out of the way, you may not have any other places to store these things. In that case, you’ll want to install latches to keep children out of places they shouldn’t be snooping. These days, there are tons of options for latches of all shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find something that fits your furniture.
These steps will provide a much safer environment, but there may still be things you’ve missed depending on your lifestyle and how your home is designed. Think from a child’s perspective: what possible danger, big or small, could come about from his or her position in your home? Also, even after you’ve remodeled your home and made steps toward a more child-friendly environment, you’ll still want to take as many other precautions as possible. For example, if you have visitors over, make sure that they know any house safety rules you may have. In addition, keep emergency contact information handy. While it may be unpleasant to think about, the unthinkable does happen, and you’ll want to be prepared if ever an emergency arises.