New parents have a million concerns that range from taking care of their newborn to handling hospital bills and managing work and family life. Still, the number one concern on the mind of every new parent is the safety of their newborn child. The good news is that there is plenty of advice on how to keep young children safe in the home. The bad news is that for many new parents, it can seem like there are too many resources, and it’s hard to know which ones to listen to.
To make this process simple, Handyman Matters has compiled a list of the five most important safety measures every parent needs to take. This is by no means an exclusive list, but it’s a good starting point, and will go a long way towards making your home as child-proof as it can possibly be.
1. Install safety latches on cabinets. Dangerous chemicals and cleaning agents should never be left out in the open since they’re often easy for children to get into and are poisonous. Install safety latches on cabinets that house these chemicals, and if possible, always keep them in a cabinet high enough that prying hands can’t reach.
2. Check for lead paint. Lead poisoning is a serious health risk for adults and children alike. Homes built within the last thirty years don’t run the risk of lead paint, but older houses and apartments should always be checked by a professional.
3. Install childproof outlet covers. The most commonly offered bit of advice for childproofing is installing outlet covers to make sure that young ones don’t stick a finger or other foreign object (like a pencil or a toy) into an outlet. Also, make sure you get outlet covers that are specifically designed to keep children safe, as they’re much more difficult to get off than basic outlet covers.
4. Use anti-scald devices on faucets and shower heads. Many homes, especially older homes, may not have proper precautions installed to keep young children from burning themselves. If you have older plumbing or an older hot water heater, you should seriously consider installing an anti-scalding device in your plumbing. While devices come in DIY, faucet-mounted versions, we strongly recommend having a trained plumber install pipe-mounted versions just downstream of your water heater.
5. Bolt bookshelves and other furniture to the wall. Instructions for self-assembled furniture always caution buyers to bolt the furniture to the walls. When you have young children in the house, this goes double. In fact, even wide and low furniture that normally does not need extra anchoring should be secured. Always make sure that you are using the proper screws, and if at all possible make sure that you secure the anchor bolts to a stud. If you don’t feel comfortable that you can find the studs or secure the bolts and furniture well, make sure you call a professional carpenter or handyman.
For assistance, call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or go enter your zip code above in order to locate a Handyman Matters business near you.