Whether your children are 18 months old or 18 years old, keeping them safe and secure—especially while they’re at home—is your biggest priority. And while homes are generally thought of as being safe and secure by default, they can contain many overlooked hazards that can put children at risk of serious illness or injury. Reducing and even eliminating the threat of many of these household hazards doesn’t take much work or money, but it does require being able to identify them.
At Blindster, we know that there’s no greater peace of mind for homeowners and parents than having a house that’s as free from hazards as possible. If you’re looking to reduce the risks that your children—regardless of their ages—may face when they’re at home, check out our list of tips for creating a safe and secure house:
Adjust your water heater to prevent scalds and burns.
Instantaneous hot water is one of life’s greatest luxuries, but when water heaters aren’t configured properly, it can range from an unpleasant surprise in the shower to a medical emergency—especially for babies and small children who experienced prolonged exposure to scalding water. Test your home’s faucets, tubs, and showers to find out how hot the water gets from each tap. Then, adjust your water heater until the maximum heat setting is a safe temperature.
Install window guards and stops to prevent falls.
Kids are naturally curious about windows, particularly when they’re opened or are easy to open. Locking windows prevents toddlers and small children from opening them, but most window locks are easily bypassed by older children. Permanent window guards and stops installed in windows prevent accidental falls. An estimated 4,000 children suffer serious injuries every year due to falls from windows, but guards and stops can keep your children safe.
Use cord cleats and install cordless window coverings.
If your window treatments are operated via a cloth, nylon, or chain cord, they can present a choking and strangulation risk for your children. Blindster offers free cord cleats for all corded window treatments that we sell, which are small plastic hooks that allow you to safely coil excess cord away from the reach of small children. If you don’t already have cord cleats, purchase enough for all your window treatments as soon as possible. And if you’re looking to replace your window treatments, you can’t go wrong with cordless varieties, which but all but eliminate the risk of choking or strangulation.
Install and regularly test smoke, radon, and carbon monoxide detectors.
Most homes and apartments are equipped with smoke detectors, but not all of them are kept in good working condition. Smoke detectors are ineffective if they aren’t tested regularly or have become less sensitive due to age or wear and tear. Make sure the smoke detectors in your home are frequently tested and get new batteries on a regular basis. In addition, you should also test your home for carbon monoxide—especially if your home is powered by gas. Finally, test your home for the presence of radon, which is an otherwise undetectable radioactive gas that can create health problems and even lead to cancer.
Watch out for pests—but don’t get too aggressive when trying to eliminate them.
Spiders, ants, and even the occasional mouse can put parents on guard when they’re trying to create a safe environment for their children. And while eliminating these pests is a common-sense approach to make your home a more secure place, it’s also important to not go overboard. Filling your home with harsh chemicals and fumes can put your children at risk of developing health complications—especially when those chemicals are sprayed in the areas where they play. Instead of using chemical solutions, set traps and seal and block entryways for pests by caulking windows, weather-stripping doors, and insulating your attic.
Mount televisions and secure chests, dressers, and mirrors to walls.
Large televisions and many types of furniture can easily topple over with just a light pull. Even toddlers can knock over things like chests, dressers, and mirrors—all of which are large and heavy enough to cause serious injuries and even trap them underneath. If you have a low-platform television stand, make sure your television is either securely fastened to it or mounted on your wall. In addition, make sure all your upright furniture is fastened to the wall using furniture hooks and straps.
Keep your dishwasher closed and locked when it isn’t in use.
Dishwashers can pose significant threats to small children. Whether it’s the risk of accidentally ingesting liquid detergent or the risk of being injured by cutlery, these modern conveniences should always be kept in a closed and locked position to keep children safe. In addition, you should also place knives, forks, and other sharp items face down when loading your dishwasher to prevent accidental cuts and scrapes.
Place household chemicals and cleaners out of reach.
Many homeowners place their household cleaners under their kitchen sinks for easy access. While this can be a convenient storage space, it’s also easily accessed by small children. Instead of placing these items at eye level for small children, place them in higher cabinets and make sure they’re securely fastened and locked. It’s also important to verify that all cleaners have caps and lids and that any spills or residue on the sides of the bottles are cleaned up immediately.
Round up small toys and safely store them after play sessions.
Babies and toddlers love playing with small toys, but those same toys also represent a choking hazard. Toys like blocks, balls, and small action figures can easily fit inside the mouths of small children, and they can quickly block airways. To avoid a choking-related injury, make sure your child’s small toys remain in a designated play area and safely secure them when your child is finished playing.