3 Simple Tips to Child Proof Your Home
Three Simple Ways to Child Proof Your Home
by Abigail Clark
It’s a misconception that a child proofed home is a dull, institutional, and unfashionable home. Just because you share your home with kids doesn’t mean that your living room should look like a padded cell to keep your babies safe. Here are kid-proofing tips and design ideas for a functional, attractive child-friendly home.
Create a Safe and Sane Kitchen
The kitchen is a hotbed of hidden dangers for kids, so your first focus is safety. The best thing is to gate off your kitchen if you aren’t in it, but with today’s trend toward open design, gating isn’t always practical. Install a clear plastic stove guard to keep curious hands away from knobs and hot surfaces. Use locks on cabinets that hold cleaning supplies and latch the loaded dishwasher. Secure kitchen rugs with double-sided tape to prevent trips and falls. Buy a fire extinguisher and learn how to put out kitchen fires.
Kitchen tips to keep your sanity start with your fridge. If you’re due for a new one, choose one with a finish that doesn’t show fingerprints. Stainless steel is the worst; prevent smudges by rubbing a little mineral oil on doors once a month. Models with a freezer drawer on the bottom are safest for kids and convenient for cooks. Fill a lower cupboard with baby-friendly items like plastic bowls, wooden spoons, colorful measuring cups, and a pot or pan to bang on to entertain your budding chef while you work. Invest in a sturdy locking trashcan that doesn’t tip easily — safe for kids, fewer messes for you.
Button Up Your Living Room
Kid-proofing your living room starts with corners, especially on your coffee table. A close encounter with a coffee table accounts for one-fourth of ER visits in kids under five. Glass tables are a no-no; put cushioned guards on furniture with sharp corners. Cover electrical outlets with safety plates, and use safety cord winders on blinds and drapes. Move breakable accessories to shelves kids can’t reach, and put safety screens in front of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Make sure heavy bookcases and cabinets are anchored to the wall, so they don’t topple over if your child pulls on them.
However, a kid-friendly living area shouldn’t be hard on the eyes or hostile to adults. Keep your favorite stylish pieces — your white Irish linen sofa can coexist with kids as long as you protect your furniture against spills and sticky fingers. A leather storage ottoman is a safe and functional alternative to the terrifying coffee table; you can whisk toys out of sight when guests drop by.
You might have to give up your quirky antique bar cart, but a vintage glazed-door secretary is a great place to display your spirits and glassware out of baby’s reach. Your kid-proof living areas can stay true to your personal style if you’re creative and look for multipurpose pieces.
Baby-Proof the Bathroom
Your first line of defense is a doorknob lock, although it’s only effective if you’re in the habit of closing bathroom doors. For more peace of mind, prevent toilet trouble with a commode lid lock. Set your water heater at a low temperature, or 120 degrees — a baby is scalded in just five seconds by water heated to 135 degrees. If you use a blow dryer, hot rollers, or a flat-iron, make sure you unplug them after you use them to prevent burns and electrocution. Request child-proof lids on prescription medications and securely lock your medicine cabinet.
If you and your child share a bathroom, there are ways to make the space work for both of you. Designate a drawer for your child’s hygiene products so she can always find her own toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand soap — adult products can be harmful for youngsters. Buy a tub toy organizer so you can shower without slipping on an errant rubber ducky.
Safety and style can work hand in hand to create a healthy and stylish environment for your family. Common-sense steps to protect your children can coexist with sophisticated interior designs. These tips will help you balance form and function in a child-friendly home.
Abigail Clark is an upcoming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. Find Abigail on Twitter at @downtownabby17.