Every year, hundreds of children suffer injuries within the home; however many of these accidents can be avoided by using simple childproofing techniques. As you may know, though, there are many babyproofing products out there and some of them are really expensive. So, here are some tips on how to childproof your home on a budget without sacrificing safety.
When considering how to childproof your house, it can be really helpful to try to look at it from the perspective of your child. We got down on our hands and knees to see things from their viewpoint and looked for any potential hazards. It was really helpful in finding some of the problems we might have otherwise overlooked.
How to Childproof Your Home on a Budget
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One piece of advice, coming from our personal experience, is to overprotect. What I mean by that is when you think that something is out of the reach of your child, give yourself at least an extra 6 inches of leeway there. Trust me on this.
Also, revisit your safety precautions on a regular basis. Kids grow faster than you might imagine and what was safe and out of reach a month ago might not be now. They’re also clever and quickly learn how to create a pile of toys or other items to use as an impromptu stepstool.
Oh and when it comes to putting things on high shelves, bear in mind that many kids are very nimble and good at climbing. Locking items away is a much safer solution. And don’t forget to anchor your furniture so it can’t come toppling down onto the kids.
If purchasing everything you need to child-proof your home is currently out of your budget, I suggest doing it in stages. When you have an infant who can’t yet roll over or crawl, you won’t need to add safety locks to things like your stove or medicine cabinet right away. Start with the ones you will need first – such as outlet covers – and then plan to buy another one or two each month or so until you have everything you need.
Another option for making this more economical is to place child safety products on your registry. They make a great idea for people looking for a gift for you and your baby.
Childproofing the Bathroom
Faucets. Hot taps can scald, and cause nasty injuries; however, there are a number of childproofing devices that can reduce accidents by either covering the taps completely or regulating the water temperature.
Toilets. Buying locks to hold down toilet seats and lids can be vital in preventing an accident, as inquisitive toddlers can accidentally fall into the toilet bowl.
Water Heater. Reducing the temperature of the water heater will help to reduce the risk of accidents. An ideal temperature would be 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).
Bathtubs. Emptying all water from bathtubs is vital, as well as keeping the bathroom door closed at all times. Add doorknob covers as needed to keep kids out of the bathroom unsupervised.
Childproofing the Kitchen
Medicines and Chemicals. It may not be enough simply to store any chemicals and medicines out of arm’s reach; instead, keep them locked away securely. There are a number of effective and affordable drawer and cupboard locks available in the marketplace.
Ovens and Stoves. Always turn pan handles towards the back of the hob to prevent the risk of scalding liquids being tipped over, causing nasty burns. Knob covers can be used as well as locks such as the one shown below to keep the oven door closed.
Liquids. Never carry hot liquids near a child. Again, as with the bathroom, it is advisable to keep the door closed to prevent toddlers from entering.
General Childproofing Techniques
There are a number of things that can be done around the house to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.
Stairgates. Blocking the tops or bottoms of stairwells with a reliable stairgate can minimize the risk of falls. You can also use these, as we do, to block off certain rooms. For example, we have a gate that prevents the littlest one from going into the part of the house with the kitchen and bathroom which helps to keep those areas safer.
This is the one we use below. It is not cheap but it has been incredibly useful and effective.
PLEASE NOTE: It’s important not to rely on the gates alone. Kids will eventually learn how to unlock them and many become accomplished climbers. Instead of depending on a gate for the doorway leading to the stairs, we have a door with a lock on it. And we still have dangerous items stored out of reach. The more layers of protection, the better, as far as I’m concerned.
Cabling. Cover all exposed cabling to prevent trips; better still, move all cabling out of harm’s way.
Smoke Alarms. While being a regular part of house maintenance, checking that all smoke alarms are fully functional can save a life. Don’t forget the carbon monoxide alarms too!
Window Restrictors. Especially on upper floors, fixing window restrictors to limit the opening width of the window will prevent falls from height.
Blinds. Cut blind cords or tie them out of arm’s reach to avoid strangulation.
Electrical Outlets. Socket covers are cheap and effective, eliminating the risk of little fingers being pushed into electrical outlets.
Furniture. Remove or cover furniture with sharp edges.
Breakables. Relocate all breakable ornaments out of harm’s way and to higher shelves or tables.
Animals. Closely supervise children when in the presence of animals.
There are many simple yet effective ways in which a home can be babyproofed and childproofed. Carrying out these helpful tips in the bathroom, kitchen and other areas around the house can minimize nasty accidents and injuries.