A Whole New World
Congratulations! You may be a new grandparent, or this may be one of several grandchildren you have! But while we age in place, we might forget to accommodate our house for little visitors; after all, it's been quite a while since you've changed your own children's diapers! So, it's understandable that when your son or daughter brings home their bundle of joy, and you watch them grow, you'll need to make some tweaks to your space to keep up with their ever-increasing curiosity of the new world around them! Whether they are crawling at light speed, or toddling around your house, children seem to have a knack for finding danger. Here are some tips to make your home safe for you and the little ones in your life:
A Safer Home Is a Happy Home
1) Make sure anything that can start a fire is out of reach: This includes lit candles, matches, lighters, anything that can be knocked over or ignite a flame is away from curious eyes and hands
2) Keep all power cords out of sight and reach, and all electric outlets plugged: That way, your inquisitive toddler won’t put a metal object in the electric socket and electrocute themselves! Keep any power strips off when not in use and stowed behind furniture (make sure the space between furniture and the walls is small enough that a little body can’t squeeze through) and electric sockets plugged with covers. You can find these at your local grocery store!
3) Anchor your furniture, including your TVs: Tots think the world is their playground, and while “No” is a good word to use, that won’t prevent tragedy if they decide your dresser is a good climbing wall and it falls on them. Have any heavy furniture like bookcases and dressers anchored to the walls or to the floor to prevent tipping
4) Keep choking hazards out of reach: This includes toys, crayons, or potpourri. Anything that can be swallowed should go away from the reach of little hands who are eager to put anything they find in their mouths! This also goes for plastic shopping bags and balloons for children under 3.
5) Keep those fragile knickknacks on the highest shelf : Anything breakable should obviously stay away
6) Guard Your Windows, especially on the second floor: to keep kids from falling out of a window or trying to climb out, the opening to a window should be no more than 3 inches or no larger than an adult fist to keep little bodies from wiggling out. If they can open larger than that, you should get a window guard.
7) Gate the kitchen: the doorway, lock the lower cabinet doors, everything should be locked and inaccessible to Junior (without adult supervision). Kitchens have a lot of hazards, from knives and hot stoves, to choking hazards, poisonous chemicals, and spaces your tot can get stuck in. You can secure the kitchen cabinets with magnetic locks, a traditional latch, or childproof lock boxes. If you don’t have those and your grandchild is coming to visit in an hour? Place chemicals like dish detergent on a higher shelf. Remember the over too – make sure little hands can’t open it, or turn on the stove!
8) Cover the toilet seat: This one is especially important – children often drown in small puddles of water and toilets are no exception, especially with a lid that can close on a small human who can’t lift it off themselves. Install a latch and remind visitors to use it when your small child is visiting or coming for a visit!
9) Keep electrical appliances unplugged: Such as hairdryers, blenders, anything not in use should be unplugged and stowed out of reach (see point 2).
10) Keep pills stowed away: They look like candy to little eyes and can poison them. Keep your medication in their bottles or your pill box, securely locked in a medicine cabinet while in use.
There are plenty of other tips to keeping your home safe for visiting kids. Get a checklist together of the things you need to do before grandkids come to play. While this list is a helpful guide, there are many others like these:
- Safety Tips for Children
- WebMD's Guide to Childproofing your Home
- Parents.com's Guide to BabyProofing
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 25, 2017:
Your tips are very useful. Thanks for the reminders; we love the grandchildren and we want them to be safe always.