6 Areas to Safeguard in Your Home When You Have Children
When you become a new parent, life changes drastically. Among the many changes in preparation for parenthood is what counts as a “safe” home. You will soon have a small, blissfully ignorant human being running around curiously touching and yanking on everything. Knowing what needs to be made safer can be challenging, though, because there are so many things that are easy to overlook and some of them may not be obvious.
Protecting your child from dangers lurking in your home is the most important consideration. However, you also may want to think in terms of what your children can do to the house and its contents.
For example, many electronic devices are sensitive to power surges and may suffer permanent failures as a result. If your child discovers your home’s breaker box, it might end in disaster for your devices. For any sensitive electronics you can’t afford to replace or which contain essential information you can’t bear to lose, one key is to use battery back ups to prevent surges and keep devices powered long enough for safe shut-offs.
Sweets and Junk Food
Another area you may not be thinking of right now is access to junk food like candy bars and potato chips. Before your child grows up enough to develop a habit of getting into such things, you may want to consider where and how you store them. Preferably, pick a place that can be locked such as a closet or separate pantry. Do not simply put them high, especially within the child’s view, because this could inadvertently encourage the child to climb for them.
If your child turns the water on, the last thing you would want is for the temperature to be capable of going so high that accidentally turning to “hot” results in injury. Even worse would be if your child were in the tub or shower when such a thing happened. Be sure to set your water temperatures to below 120° to limit the amount of pain or harm your child suffers if the wrong faucet setting is engaged.
If your home has a basement level, you probably have window wells. Window wells are important for allowing light and air circulation to your basement, but also as an escape route in the event of danger. Yet they can also pose dangers of their own. For example, they are typically quite deep so falling into one could result in serious injury or death.
Installing sturdy covers is important. They should be able to stand up to the abuse of children and the weight of people or animals walking across them. They should not be easy for a child to open from the top, but they should be easy to open from below in the event an emergency escape becomes necessary.
Your yard can be a wondrous place for your child’s imagination to come alive, but it can also contain dangers. Many plants are poisonous, ranging in severity from mild gastrointestinal upset to downright deadly. Children, especially as they play make-believe, may munch on plants from your yard. Eliminate plants which could do serious harm and stick with varieties which pose little to no concern of making your child sick.
Keeping your carpet clean seems like the safe and responsible thing for you to do for your babies, and it makes sense: limiting the amount of debris and germs in your home is usually considered ideal. However, wet carpet can also pose risks to be cautious about. Carpet that’s allowed to remain wet may begin to proliferate mold or other moisture-loving organisms which could make your child sick. In fact, exposure to wet carpet is one of the possible factors in children contracting a potentially serious disease called Kawasaki syndrome, possibly due to pathogens that are introduced or awakened in the soggy fibers.
When carpets need to be cleaned, try to stick with methods that dry completely within hours rather than days. Also consider timing it for when your children and pets will not be in the home for a couple days or more, such as during a long weekend to visit family.