When our children are babies we don’t consider some of the items in our home to be dangerous. But once they begin crawling and walking, little hands like to discover new things and things that we have previously considered to be safe become very dangerous to young children. Some of the available items on the market are expensive, and having a childproof home from top to bottom can become an expensive exercise. Some of us also rent, and changing potentially dangerous structural conditions are not an option.
Here are some of the things I have implemented to child proof my home on a budget.
A great thing to do as a parent is get on your hands and knees and see what the world looks like from down below. You will be surprised at things you never knew existed or potentially dangerous areas of your home from a child’s view.
Cupboards and Doors
Some cupboards kids should not be getting into, such as those that contain medicines or cleaning fluids. Not only should we move these items higher so that they cannot reach but cupboards should be locked and unaccessible to little hands.
I have had the fortune of having cupboards that open outwards, and the knobs to the two cupboards side by side are close. I have child proofed these cupboards by investing in strong elastic bands. I tie one end to one knob and tie them together. The tighter you make the elastic the harder for the child to open the cupboard.
Doors and little fingers do not go together. Wherever possible, make sure you use door stoppers to keep them open so that they cannot be closed or slammed on little fingers. Children also like to stand behind doors and put their fingers through the crack. By disabling the door from movement stops them from getting behind it, or others closing the door on their fingers.
You can also buy quite cheaply door knob covers. They are plastic covers that go over the handle and prevent children from turning it. These are very cheap, a great item to have in the home.
My home contains a lot of glass. As it was built many years ago, the windows and doors are not safety glass, and is also not my home. To install safety glass is extremely costly. For example only a few weeks ago I had an outside door slam in the wind. As it was an external door, used to access the outside areas of the home, by law it is supposed to be safety glass. The cost to replace this panel, measuring 1.2meters by 1.4 meters, was $700.00.
A great cost effective way of childproofing glass in your home is by utilizing contact. Purchase rolls of contact at your newsagent or supermarket. Roll the contact over the panels that could be potentially dangerous. If it is broken. by a flying toy or a fast moving truck, it will not shatter into a million pieces. It will remain on the contact, preventing large shards from hurting your children.
Electrical cords and Plugs
Move them out of the way. Power boards should not be on the floor where your children are. Electrical cords should be stored safely away, behind bureaus and televisions. Utilize packing tape and tape cords to the floor, when walking and running toddlers are at play, they do not need cords as an obstacle.
By going to your local two dollar shop you can locate small plastic plugs that fit into your switches. Make sure you insert these into all unused sockets, preventing little fingers or items being poked into them.
Jagged Edges and sharp corners
We all have them. Bench tops, coffee tables, dining tables, soap holders in the bath. Purchase some foam from a pool store, or use old packing foam you may have on hand. Tape with packing tape around every dangerous edge. This may look quite ugly for a while but the safety of your child should take priority. You can purchase plastic edge covers from stores to childproof your home, but I have found the adhesive on these do not stick well.
Plants in the Home
We need to be aware that some species of plants, and the soil used to grow them contain harmful chemicals. Either get all your plants off the ground, use hanger pots, or do not have any at all. Kids love playing with dirt, and the soil in pots is perfect for this activity. Store bought soil contains many chemicals, we use fertilizers and growth enhancements in our household plants.
Move Everything Up Higher
Something we need to remember as parents that if we don’t want our children touching certain things, we need to move them out of reach from them. Children are naturally inquisitive, buttons, remote controls and televisions are a playground for them. Move anything you don’t want touched or broken away and out of sight from children. In effect you are child proofing your household items too.
Water Heater Temperatures
Depending on where in the world you are living, check with your local council on what the temperature of your water heater and what it should be set to. By lowering the temperature that comes out of your hot water faucet, will prevent burns and scorches to young children.
Child safety gates
As I have three children in my home, I try and minimize their traffic in and out of areas that could be harmful to them. Such as the kitchen, especially when food is being prepared. I went to my local hardware store and purchased some sturdy yet cheap wood, some hinges and a lock. It took me less than a day to erect a small gate which I then drilled into place between the kitchen and the main living area. When food is being prepared I lock this gate in order to prevent the kids from coming in and out of the kitchen when food is in the oven or stove.
Besides many of the other safety issues we as parents are aware of, I hope you found some of these tips useful when considering child proofing your home. Many stories you hear about children being hurt and injured within the home, usually begin with “I thought it couldn’t happen to me”. Believe me it does and can happen, such as my recent experience with the slammed door. I was very lucky my children were not closer to the door when the glass shattered, as they were only mere meters from it.