Child-Proofing Your Home: A Priority For Parents
These new moms and dads will have to take care of more administrative tasks – like renewing or updating their Canada home insurance policy – as well as ensuring that their new addition is safe and healthy as they grow and develop.
Of course, parents will have plenty of help along the way, offered by friends, grandmothers and grandfathers, teachers and babysitters. But before they get there, they’ll spend virtually all of their time at home with their primary caretakers as they develop from a newborn to a toddler. And it’s in these formative years – what many may call the “terrible twos” – that young children can easily get into trouble if parents haven’t taken the proper safety precautions.
To help parents effectively childproof their homes, here are some tips to take into consideration.
Bathroom risks can develop when not nearby
Virtually every night, kids will get cleaned up after a day of fun and play. But children being who they are – as virtually every waking moment, in their minds, is meant for recreation – they likely won’t want to settle down even after the dinner hour. Thus, it’s important to keep children within earshot if away from the bathroom as parents prepare. They can easily fall into the bathtub if they lose their balance, creating a drowning hazard if the water level is high.
While the water itself should be warm, parents should be careful that it’s not too hot. As noted by Canadian Living magazine, most household water heaters are between 50 and 55 degrees Celsius. Because children are more sensitive to high temperatures, it’s best to lower the water heater’s temperature to 48 degrees Celsius. Heat at this level is warm enough to kill and rid the skin of the bacteria that forms in a given day but at the same time is not hot enough to scald or cause unintentional injury.
Be aware in the kitchen
The kitchen is another area of the house that young children may view as their very own playpen. Lots of noisemaking devices can be found within the typical kitchen, including pots, pans, skillets and spatulas. While most of these items are harmless, there are cooking supplies – such as dutch ovens and indoor griddles – that are quite heavy.
To prevent toddlers from accessing these utensils, be sure to use safety latches and locks on doors and cabinets that hold them. Over the years, much has been learned about these locks and latches, as kids have occasionally been able to gain entry into forbidden areas despite their use. Since then, the research performed by consumer advocacy groups have enabled companies to make more child-resistant devices.
As children grow, they’ll eventually reach a point where they’re able to walk with ease, pulling items from countertops and anything else that’s above their heads. They may even reach for the stove if there’s a handle that they can grab. Safety experts point out that parents should try to get into the habit of cooking all their food on the stove on the back burners so as to avoid this risk factor. They may also want to place safety knobs over the dials on the stove that control the burners. These will prevent them from fiddling with the stove or oven temperature, which poses a safety risk not only to them, but can also increase the risk that the food will be burned, perhaps leading to an oven fire.
Choking hazards are manifold in home office
Many Canadian parents today will find that working from home has never been a better option for them now that they have a young one to care for. By doing the same things that they would have done at the office, parents can often save themselves a lot of money by avoiding childcare or babysitting expenses. However, working from home and watching kids at the same time can be another safety issue if precautions aren’t taken in the home office. Lots of wires from the computer may be around, which are not only tripping but choking hazards as well. Tie up all cords and wires so that they’re grouped together and hide them under the desk as completely as possible. As with other portions of the home, place safety latches on office drawers and filing cabinets.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as many as 300 children under the age of 14 are killed in the country due to accidents both away and at home. In addition, nearly 21,000 sustain injuries serious enough to warrant hospitalization. Following these recommendations can provide parents with the tools they need to ensure their kids are out of harm’s way as they develop.