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Home Maintenance Tip: Childproof your Home for your Grandchildren

Posted on June 21, 2016

It may seem like just yesterday since your kids were young, but now you have a grandchild on the way. Perhaps you’ve forgotten some of the tricks of child-rearing, but childproofing your home is one task that you need to tackle right away.

Unintentional household injuries such as suffocation, burns, drowning, falls, choking and poisoning leave more than 3 million children under age 15 with injuries, and claim the lives of more than 2,000 children each year. Many of these injuries could be prevented. So, listen up parents and grandparents.

There are lots of childproofing devices available at hardware stores, home improvement stores, baby stores, supermarkets or you can order online. Select devices that are strong but convenient to use. No childproofing device will work if the adults don’t consistently use it.

Remove choking hazards: Grandchildren will find almost anything and stick it in their mouths. If an object can fit inside a toilet paper tube, then it is a choking hazard.

Secure furniture and electronics: While focusing on small choking hazards is important, don’t forget the large items. Children like to climb and can pull furniture such as dressers or bookcases over on themselves. Use anchors and brackets to secure furniture to the walls. Don’t overlook unmounted flat-screen televisions that are easy to pull over.

Install anti-scalding devices on faucets and shower heads: Children can suffer third degree burns from just 3 seconds of exposure to 140 degree water. Be sure to lower the temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees.

Pay attention to the stove: It’s fun for grandchildren to play with pots and pans. But it’s a different matter with they are on the stove cooking dinner. Use the back burners when possible and turn pot handles toward the back.

Prevent strangulation: Children can get their necks or limbs entangled in window covering looped cords. If you have looped cords on window blinds, install cord stops that eliminate the need for loops.

Install safety guards on toilets: Children can drown in one-inch of water. Children are top-heavy. They can lean and easily fall into a toilet. A toilet lock requires a lever be moved before raising the seat.

Prevent electrocution: Children’s curiosity draws them to electrical receptacles. Plastic inserts are not a good solution because they can be pulled out and become a choking hazard. Self-sliding outlet covers are a better choice because receptacles are covered when nothing is plugged in. Tuck electrical cords out of sight so that they can’t be tugged on.

Block dangerous areas: Falls are the most common preventable cause of hospitalization for children under 4 years old. Install hardware-mounted safety gates into wall studs on both sides of a stairwell to prevent falls. Pressure gates can be used to prevent access to less dangerous areas. Choose a gate that is tall enough that children can’t climb over it and close enough to the floor that kids can’t scoot underneath the gate.

Install safety latches and locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers: Even a couple of teaspoons of salt can be dangerous to a child. With all the poisoning items and sharp objects in kitchens and bathrooms, it is important to choose latches and locks that can withstand the pulls from children.

Remember that no device is completely childproof. Determined children can disable almost any safety device. For the best protection, adults and older grandchildren must re-secure safety devices and keep a close eye on the little ones.


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