Kids have an innate curiosity. They love to explore their environments all the time. That is why ensuring that the house is safe and free from threats that pose unnecessary risks of injury is very important. Sometimes, childproofing can mean the difference between life and death.
Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for children up to 14 years old. And more than 35% of these accidents happen at home. In a similar context, 9.2 million kids are rushed to the emergency room every year as a result of an unintentional injury according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While it is impossible to safeguard children against all kinds of injuries, most of the risks can be significantly reduced by planning ahead. Most household injuries occur in the following areas :
Balconies, decks and stairs
Falls account for the majority of household accidents. Decks, balconies and stairs pose several hazards for children with the most serious being that a child could slip through the railings and fall. Many Beverly Hills houses have wrought iron handrails for their balconies and stairs.
If these railings create any gaps that are wider than 4 inches, chances are a child will be able to squeeze himself through and fall. Modifications should be made to prevent these kinds of accidents from happening. There are several options to childproof these places.
One way is to install and secure the railings with hardware-mounted safety fencing. These fences could be placed inside of the balcony railings or in front of any staircases. Another alternative is to add additional spindles or vertical slats to fill in the gaps in the railings.
This is a particularly appealing option for wooden decks.
From poisonous medicines to hot curling irons to drowning, the smallest room in the house can be a very dangerous place for a child. According to the CDC, about 43,000 kids are sent to the emergency department for slips and falls in the bathroom every year.
And in most of these cases, an adult is watching over the kids. Gary Smith, MD, from Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy, suggests installing support bars for children to hold onto while getting in and out of a tub or shower area.
Using slip-resistant mats in tubs could also reduce the number of injuries significantly. Installing safety latches and locks on cabinets and lids are some of the basic childproofing measures for the bathroom. Outlet protectors should also be used to cover unused electrical outlets not only in the bathroom but for the rest of the house.
Lastly, proper storage of medicines, dryers and electric rollers after use is important.
Many families often spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Unfortunately, this room is also full of risks, and it is a good idea to make it off-limits to children completely. But almost every parent knows that kids are not going to stay out of the kitchen even if it is gated. The next best option is childproofing.
Cabinets and drawers should be securely closed when they are not being used. One of the simplest and popular solutions is using a magnetic locking device that will automatically close them when they are not being used.
Soft-sliders should also be installed to prevent hard slamming and protect fingers from accidentally getting smashed. Latches should also be placed on refrigerators and the oven door. The kitchen garbage bin is one thing that gets often overlooked during the childproofing process.
This should always be hidden away in a cabinet when possible.
The most important safeguard is to watch young children at all times. However, an accident can happen so fast that a parent or guardian cannot react quickly enough to prevent them. Childproofing a house allows parents and guardians to take safety to the next level.