Parents, grandparents and other adults that are hosting children in their homes regularly need to be aware of the safety measures the presence of children requires. It’s pretty amazing how quickly small children are able to find the very items that put them at risk.

Most parents already went through the process of child-proofing their home, but, if you’re new to this whole parenting gig, or if you’re having children over occasionally, take the time to go through your entire home and to identify potential risks for children. Then, make the necessary adjustments to prevent serious accidents.

Hidden dangers in your living room

The coffee table, which is usually located near the sofa, looks pretty harmless. However, children love jumping up and down on the sofa, and the risk of falling and hitting their heads on the coffee table cannot be understated.

Buy covers for the corners and the edges of the table. Most hardware stores and supermarkets carry safety bumpers made of soft materials like foam. Another solution is to put a padded cover over the entire coffee table.

Knickknacks and decorative items are the next offenders that need to be considered. Some of them can break and cause cuts, others are small and can be swallowed or have pointy parts that can stab.

Heavy books like art albums or encyclopedias can fall off shelves (not spontaneously, of course, although a child will do everything to convince you books simply flew off the shelves directly into their heads), and let’s not even get into vases or expensive china. If you’re a parent, do everyone a favor, pack all that stuff up and put it in a self storage unit until the children are at least 12.

Make sure that all shelves, credenzas or any other piece of furniture a child might climb on are safely anchored to the walls and can’t tip over. Electrical cords should be out of the reach of children, and all electrical outlets need safety covers.

Next on the list, the kitchen

The kitchen presents an entire array of issues when it comes to childproofing: dangerous chemicals from the cleaning products, sharp or heavy items, hot liquids, the stove, plenty of drawers and cabinets filled with items that could potentially hurt a child. It’s not only about childproofing, but also about making a habit of following safety rules every time you’re using your kitchen.

Go through all your cabinets and reorganize them by putting items that don’t pose safety issues in your bottom cabinets and moving everything that’s fragile, breakable and/or sharp into the top ones. Make sure all cleaning products are as far as possible out of the reach of the children. Adding child locks to the cabinets will give you peace of mind.

Most people do a great job in keeping sharp objects and chemicals away from small children but aren’t as worried about food items. However, food comes with serious choking risks and you should always supervise a young child while snacking. Keep stuff like cookies, candy, pretzels, chips, or fruit away from the reach of young children.

Push the blender, toaster, slow-speed juicer, coffee maker and other small kitchen appliances away from the edge of your countertop and move them as close to the walls as possible. Don’t leave electric cords hanging. Use child safety locks on the fridge – not only the children will be safer, but the kitchen will be a lot cleaner too if half-eaten items from the fridge are not everywhere!

Tend to the bedrooms and bathrooms

In the bedrooms, the main things to worry about are large drawer chests that are not properly secured. Children tend to pull out all the drawers and then climb inside them or on top of the chest, which might cause the large piece of furniture to tip over, trapping the child underneath. Secure the furniture to the walls and add stops to prevent drawers from opening all the way out.

Don’t keep medicine, cosmetics or jewelry in easily accessible areas. Supervise small children while they play on your bed to avoid asphyxiation risks. Don’t keep a lot of pillows, blankets and covers on your bed or on children’s beds.

Always keep bathroom drawers and cabinets blocked with child safety locks. Make sure children can’t lock themselves inside the bathroom. Install a safety lock for the toilet if you’re dealing with babies and toddlers. Never allow small children to spend time in the bathtub unsupervised.

Other things to consider:

  • Disable interior door locks, to prevent kids getting locked in one room
  • Avoid window shades with cords, as children can become tangled in them
  • Cover all electrical outlets, no exceptions
  • Keep car keys away from children
  • Put under lock and key anything a child is not supposed to touch
  • Consider getting a self storage unit for things that are either dangerous or easy to damage, such as tools, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, certain pieces of furniture, or even expensive bags or shoes

A general, and final, rule: Never underestimate children! They notice everything, and they’re extremely persevering. Always keep an eye on them and make sure their surroundings are as safe as possible.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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