About 2.5 million kids are injured or killed by hazards inside the home each year. The good news is that most of those incidents could be prevented by using easy child-safety devices available on the market today. Any safety product 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.
What's more, if you have older children around, be sure that they re-secure safety equipment. Remember, too, that no device is completely childproof; motivated youngsters have been known to disable safety equipment. You can childproof your house for a fraction of what it might cost you to have an expert do it. And safety systems are easy to find. You can get them at hardware retailers, infant equipment shops, super markets, drug stores, home and linen stores, and through online and mail-order magazines.
InterNACHI inspectors, too, ought to know what to tell clients who are concerned about the security of their youngsters. Here are some child-safety devices that can help prevent many accidents to younger children.
1. Use safety latches and locking devices for cabinets and under drawers in kitchens, bath rooms, and other locations to help prevent poisonings and other accidents. Safety latches and locking devices on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from obtaining access to medicines and household cleaning solutions, not forgetting kitchen knives and other sharp objects.
Try to find safety latches and locks that adults can easily install and utilize, but that are durable enough to withstand pulls and tugs from children. Safety latches are not an assurance of protection, but they can make it harder for children to reach dangerous chemicals. Even items with child-resistant packaging should always be locked out of reach; this packaging is not completely childproof.
But, according to Colleen Driscoll, executive director of the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS), "Installing an inadequate latch on a cupboard is not an answer for helping parents with safety. It is important to understand parental habits and behaviors. While a latch that loops around cabinet knob covers isn't costly and easy to install, most parents do not continuously re-latch it."
Parents should be sure to buy and install safety products that they will actually adapt to and utilize.
2. Use safety gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children clear of hazardous areas. Look for safety gates that kids are unable to free easily, but that grown ups can open and shut without difficulty. For the top of staircases, gates that screw into the wall structure are more secure than "pressure gates."
New safety gates that fulfill safety standards display a certification stamp from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If you have an older safety gate, be certain it won't posses "V" shapes that are large enough for a baby's head and neck to fit into.
3. Use door locks to help prevent kids from entering rooms and other locations with potential hazards, including swimming pools.
To restrict access to swimming pools, doorway locks on safety gates should be placed high, out of reach of young kids. Locks should be used in addition to fences and alarms. Sliding glass doors with locks that need to be re-secured after each use are usually not a effective barrier to pool access.
Door knob covers, while low-cost and recommended by a few, commonly are not effective for children who are tall enough to reach the doorknob; a child's resourcefulness and determination can usually best the cover's usefulness.
4. Use anti-scald equipment for sinks and shower heads, and set your hot water tank temperature to 120° F to help avoid skin burns from scalding hot water. A plumber might need to install these.
5. Use smoke alarms on every levels of your home and close to bedrooms to notify you of fires. Smoke alarms are essential safety items for protection against fire fatalities 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 severe falls. Check these safety devices often to make certain they are secure and correctly installed and preserved. There should be no more than 4 inches between the bars of the window guard. If you have window guards, be certain at least one window in each bedroom can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens aren't practical for preventing kids from falling out of windows.
7. Use corner and edge bumpers that can help deter injuries from falls against sharp edges of home furniture and fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be applied to furnishings and fireplace hearths to help avoid injuries from falls, and to lessen falls against sharp and rough edges.
Be sure to consider bumpers that properly fit on home furniture and fireplace corners.
8. Use receptacle or wall plug covers and plates to help prevent children from electrical shock and possible electrocution.
Be sure the outlet protectors are unable to easily be taken out by kids and are large enough so that children can't choke on them.
9. Use a carbon monoxide (CO) detector outside sleeping rooms to help lessen CO poisoning. People should install CO detectors near sleeping locations inside their homes. Households which should use CO detectors include those with gas or oil heating or with connected garages.
10. Cut window blind cables to help deter children from strangling in blind-cord loops. Window blind cord security tassels on miniblinds and tension devices on vertical blinds and curtain cords can help prevent deaths and accidents from choking in the loops of cords. Inner cord stops can help prevent strangulation in the internal cords of window shades.
However, the IAFCS's Ms. Driscoll states, "cord-less is best. While not all families are able to replace all equipment, it is important that moms and dads understand that any corded blind or window treatment can still be a hazard. Regrettably, children continue to be entrapped in dangerous blind cables despite advances in safety in recent years."
For older miniblinds, cut the cord loop, remove the buckle, and put safety tassels on every cord. Make sure that old vertical blinds and curtain cords have tension or tie-down equipment to hold the cords secured. When buying new miniblinds, vertical blinds and draperies, ask for safety characteristics to counter child strangulation.
11. Use door stops and door holders to help avoid injuries to fingers and hands. Door stops and door holders on doors and door hinges will help keep small fingers and hands from being pinched or smashed in doors and door hinges.
Make sure whatever safety equipment for doors is simple to make use of and is not expected to break into small parts, which could be a choking hazard for young children.
12. Use a cellular or cordless telephone to make it simpler to continually watch young children, especially when they're in bathtubs, swimming pools, or other potentially dangerous areas. Portable phones help you monitor your kid constantly without leaving the area to answer a phone call. Cordless phones are particularly helpful when children are in or close to water, whether it's the bathtub, the swimming pool, or the beach.
To sum up, there are a range of different safety devices which can be purchased to ensure the safety of children in the household. Homeowners can ask an InterNACHI inspector about these and other safety measures during their upcoming inspection. Parents should be sure to perform their own individual research to find the most reliable safety devices for their home that are age-appropriate for their children's security, as well as reasonably priced and compatible with their household habits and lifestyles.
From Child-Proofing Your Home: 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/childsafety.htm#ixzz2nvVySfQm