The Grandchildren are coming! The Grandchildren are coming! One if by land and two if by air... Alert the childproofing police.
With Spring just around the corner (please, please, please) comes increased travel plans for the holidays, Passover and Easter. Oh, the excitement! Oh, the fun! The most precious gifts on earth, grandchildren, are coming to Grandma’s house. That can only mean one thing – time for a grandma’s house inspection to make sure your home is grandchild-proofed.
Time passes, children grow and what they can see changes. A matter of a few inches can mean the difference between a safe and happy trip or a trip to the ER.
Ok, so “we didn’t have to wear bike helmets or seatbelts, and we turned out just fine.” Get over it. Much has changed we were kids and even since our kids were toddlers. There’s lots to be said for common sense and experience.
Research shows more than 4.5 million children are injured in the home every year. Taking simple preventive measures and closely supervising your grandchildren can help protect them from common household hazards.
Here are some easy-to-do things to help secure your home in time for a visit from your little ones.
Checklist for Childproofing Grandma’s Home
1. Take a look around your house – from your grandchildren’s perspective. Searching for the Passover afikoman is fun for little ones and big ones alike. What could they find? (It won’t hurt you to crouch down a little.) Are sockets covered? Outlet covers and switch plate covers should be installed throughout your home to protect against shock and electrocution. Make sure they’re the kind that kids can’t remove on their own and that they’re large enough to cover the entire opening.
2. Also check out your computer hook up and any lights and lamps and make sure the sockets and power cords are protected and out of sight. Best to use surge protectors for multiple plugs as well.
3. Now’s a good time to check your smoke detectors throughout your home and make sure the alarm is working. Same goes for carbon monoxide detectors
4. Put aside your desire to fill their Easter baskets with hard candies and small toys which may be a choking hazard. If it can fit through the opening of a toilet roll, it’s too small.
5. Some pre-made Easter baskets look pretty but kids can rip off the shrink wrap faster than you can say “suffocate”. Keep a watchful eye for staples and other sharp objects as well.
6. Check for sharp edges on furniture and install corner and edge bumpers to make the edges blunt.
7. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 20 percent of accidental ingestions by children were grandparents' medications. Lock up household cleaning materials and medication in a cabinet out of reach. Also remove all medicines from purses, pockets, and drawers, and install safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry area, and anywhere you store liquids or harmful objects. Kids can get into anything, so don’t underestimate them.
8. Safety gates are great way to block off access to stairways (install at the top and at the bottom), areas where there are breakables, areas you want to keep kids away from. Make sure the latches are easy for adults but difficult for kids to open. Older models have openings kids can get their hands caught in, so make sure yours is a current model.
9. Bathtime is always fun, but you may want to put those rubber covers (they come in all kinds of bright colors, animal shapes, flowers, etc.) over bathtub spout so kids can’t hurt themselves if they bump their heads in the tub. Make sure your water heater’s set to a moderate temperature to avoid scalding.
10. Keep appliances and office and exercise equipment that might injure children out of their reach and unplugged. Also be mindful of hot appliances to avoid scalding or burns.
11. Never leave windows open more than a few inches, even with screens. Screens cannot prevent kids from falling out of windows. And remove any window shade/drape cords or tack them up to avoid kids from strangling themselves.
12. Guns. If you must keep them in your home, make sure they are securely locked away and that ammunition is stored elsewhere.
14. Keeping baby safe in the crib is a whole ‘nother story. Remove everything from the crib except baby – no bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys and teddy bears or anything that could smother them should be left in the crib. Sleepsacks are all they need to keep snug as a bug and cozy warm. They should also be put to sleep on their backs. And if you have an older crib, you may want to use a Pack’n’Play instead. The bars may be too far apart and baby’s head could get stuck between them.
15. Car seats are a must. Infants should be in rear-facing carseats until they reach 20 pounds and studies show that children under 57 inches tall are safest in the event of crash when in a car seat or seat-belted in a booster seat. Laws vary by state.
16. Most of all, keep a watchful eye on the kids at all times. They don’t know all the nooks and crannies as well as you do, but you can bet they’ll want to explore.
Wishing a happy, safe, and memorable visit to you and yours.
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