Furnace and boiler inspections, HouseAbout Home Inspections
Furnace and boiler inspections, HouseAbout Home Inspections
HouseAbout Home Inspections, LLC
HouseAbout Home Inspections, LLC

★ Child-Proofing Your Home ★

12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children

 

 More Than a House... a Home!

 

Please Call ☎ (518) 505-8305 to Schedule Your Home Inspection

 
About 2.5 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home  each year. The good news is that many of these incidents can be prevented by  using simple child-safety devices on the market today. Any safety device you buy  should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to your child, yet easy for you to  use. It's important to follow installation instructions carefully.
 
In addition, if you have older children in the house, be sure they  re-secure safety devices. Remember, too, that no device is completely  childproof; determined youngsters have been known to disable them. You can  childproof your home for a fraction of what it would cost to have a professional  do it. And safety devices are easy to find. You can buy them at hardware stores,  baby equipment shops, supermarkets, drug stores, home and linen stores, and  through online and mail-order catalogues.
 
InterNACHI inspectors, too, should know what to tell clients who are  concerned about the safety of their children. Here are some child-safety devices  that can help prevent many injuries to young children. 
1.  Use safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens,  bathrooms, and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety  latches and locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining  access to medicines and household cleaners, as well as knives and other sharp  objects.
 Look for safety latches and locks that adults can easily install and use,  but that are sturdy enough to withstand pulls and tugs from children. Safety  latches are not a guarantee of protection, but they can make it more difficult  for children to reach dangerous substances. Even products with child-resistant  packaging should be locked away out of reach; this packaging is not childproof. 
 But, according to Colleen Driscoll, executive director of the International  Association for Child Safety (IAFCS), "Installing an ineffective latch on a  cabinet is not an answer for helping parents with safety.  It is important  to understand parental habits and behavior.  While a latch that loops  around cabinet knob covers is not expensive and easy to install, most parents do  not consistently re-latch it."
 Parents should be sure to purchase and install safety products that they  will actually adapt to and use. 
2.  Use safety gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep  children away from dangerous areas. Look for safety gates that children cannot  dislodge easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For the  top of stairs, gates that screw into the wall are more secure than "pressure  gates." 
 New safety gates that meet safety standards display a certification seal  from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If you have an  older safety gate, be sure it doesn't have "V" shapes that are large enough for  a child's head and neck to fit into.
3.  Use door locks to help prevent children from entering rooms and  other areas with possible dangers, including swimming pools.
 To prevent access to swimming pools, door locks on safety gates should be  placed high, out of reach of young children. Locks should be used in addition to  fences and alarms. Sliding glass doors with locks that must be re-secured after  each use are often not an effective barrier to pool access.
 Door knob covers, while inexpensive and recommended by some, are generally  not effective for children who are tall enough to reach the doorknob; a child's  ingenuity and persistence can usually trump the cover's effectiveness. 

 

 4.  Use anti-scald devices for faucets and shower heads, and set your  water heater temperature to 120° F to help prevent burns from hot water. Water at 150° can cause 2nd & 3rd degree burns to adults in 1.5 seconds, even quicker to a small child. A  plumber may need to install these. 

 
 
 
5.  Use smoke detectors on every level of your home and near bedrooms  to alert you to fires. Smoke detectors are essential safety devices for  protection against fire deaths and injuries. Check smoke detectors once a month  to make sure they're working. If detectors are battery-operated, change  batteries at least once a year, or consider using 10-year batteries.
6.  Use window guards and safety netting to help prevent falls from  windows, balconies, decks and landings. Window guards and safety netting for  balconies and decks can help prevent serious falls.  Check these safety  devices frequently to make sure they are secure and properly installed and  maintained. There should be no more than 4 inches between the bars of the window  guard. If you have window guards, be sure at least one window in each room can  be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens are not effective for  preventing children from falling out of windows.
7.  Use corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls  against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be  used with furniture and fireplace hearths to help prevent injuries from  falls, and to soften falls against sharp and rough edges.
 Be sure to look for bumpers that stay securely on furniture and hearth  edges.
 
8.  Use receptacle or outlet covers and plates to help prevent  children from electrical shock and possible electrocution.
 Be sure the outlet protectors cannot be easily removed by children and are  large enough so that children cannot choke on them.
 
9.  Use a carbon monoxide (CO) detector outside bedrooms to help  prevent CO poisoning. Consumers should install CO detectors near sleeping areas  in their homes. Households that should use CO detectors include those with gas  or oil heat or with attached garages.
 

 

 10.  Cut window blind cords to help prevent children from strangling  in blind-cord loops. Window blind cord safety tassels on miniblinds and tension  devices on vertical blinds and drapery cords can help prevent deaths and  injuries from strangulation in the loops of cords. Inner cord stops can help  prevent strangulation in the inner cords of window blinds.

 However, the IAFCS's Ms. Driscoll states, "Cordless is best.  Although  not all families are able to replace all products, it is important that parents  understand that any corded blind or window treatment can still be a  hazard.  Unfortunately, children are still becoming entrapped in dangerous  blind cords despite advances in safety in recent years."
 For older miniblinds, cut the cord loop, remove the buckle, and put safety  tassels on each cord. Be sure that older vertical blinds and drapery cords have  tension or tie-down devices to hold the cords tight. When buying new miniblinds,  vertical blinds and draperies, ask for safety features to prevent child  strangulation.
 
11.  Use door stops and door holders to help prevent injuries to  fingers and hands. Door stops and door holders on doors and door hinges can help  prevent small fingers and hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door  hinges.
 Be sure any safety device for doors is easy to use and is not likely to  break into small parts, which could be a choking hazard for young children. 

 

 12.  Use a cell or cordless phone to make it easier to continuously  watch young children, especially when they're in bathtubs, swimming pools, or  other potentially dangerous areas. Cordless phones help you watch your child  continuously without leaving the vicinity to answer a phone call. Cordless  phones are especially helpful when children are in or near water, whether it's  the bathtub, the swimming pool, or the beach.

 
 
In summary, there are a number of different safety devices that can be  purchased to ensure the safety of children in the home. Homeowners can ask an  InterNACHI inspector about these and other safety measures during their next  inspection.  Parents should be sure to do their own consumer research to  find the most effective safety devices for their home that are age-appropriate  for their children's protection, as well as affordable and compatible with their  household habits and lifestyles.  They can find more information for  household safety tips and product recommendations at the IAFCS's website at  www.iafcs.org.
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