Every parent worries about keeping their children safe – whether out in public or at home. You might not be able to do much about the outside world, but your home, at least, is a place that you have some control over. Here are some tips on making your home a safe environment for children.
Cap unused electrical outlets with outlet covers. Available inexpensively at any hardware store, these plastic caps plug into the socket and prevent little fingers from finding big trouble. Instruct children to leave plugs alone, and teach them not to play with power cords.
Install a quality home security system, and instruct your children – especially the older ones – on how to properly set and use it when they go out of the house.
Put at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, and make sure there is one in or near every bedroom in use. Replace batteries annually, and replace the alarms themselves at least every ten years – the technology is constantly improving and the alarm you buy today is a lot more effective than the one you’ve probably got up on the wall now. Use the ‘test’ button on your alarms monthly to ensure they are working, and to familiarize children with the sound they make. Better yet use a fire alarm system with heat and smoke sensors which are monitored by a company such as ADT. This will ensure the fire department is on the way if you are unable to get out or to a phone.
Install carbon monoxide sensors near bedrooms and near potential carbon monoxide sources such as enclosed gas fireplaces. Learn the sound this alarm makes, as well.
Practice fire and emergency drills with your entire family. Assign younger children an emergency buddy – either a parent or a responsible older sibling – to assist them in an emergency situation.
Keep poison and toxic chemicals well out of reach of small children – either securely locked away, or in a high storage area that they can’t reach with a ladder or stool. Write down the number for your local poison control center by each telephone – and make sure that your children know what to do if they or a sibling ingest something dangerous.
Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairwells when you have smaller children. Window guards for upper stories and security gates for balconies or high decks are an inexpensive investment that can prevent a major tragedy.
Perfect safety is probably an unattainable ideal – but simple steps like these can make your children much safer in your home without spending a fortune or upending your lifestyle. Stay safe!