Over the highways and through airports, to grandmother’s house we go...for the holidays. Lucky grandma! Nothing says Christmas like family and friends sharing all the riches of the season.
Is your home grandchild-proofed? When’s the last time you childproofed your home? While much has changed since our kids were toddlers, there’s still something to be said for common sense and experience. It’s better to be safe than sorry, though, and a few easy, relatively inexpensive steps can make all the difference in the world to keeping your grandchildren safe in your home and out of the ER on Christmas Eve
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.
Childproofing Grandma’s Home for the Holidays Checklist
Here are some easy-to-do things to help secure your home in time for a visit from your little ones.
1. Take a look around your house. 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 Christmas lights 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. While you’re checking your tree, make sure ornaments and lights are well above the reach of toddlers. Their hands may be quicker than your eyes and some small ornament or decoration could be “tasted” and possibly cause a choking hazard.
4. Speaking of choking hazards, avoid giving little ones hard candies.
5. 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.
6. Candles around the house and cozy fires in the fireplace add a special holiday glow, but can also be hazardous if you’re not watching. Keep the candles out of children’s reaches and lock up all matches and lighters. Blow out candles and snuff out fires when you leave the room or go to sleep. And those stockings you hung on the chimney with care? Make sure they are not only inflammable but well above a lit fireplace where sparks could fly. It’s best to have fireproof doors on the fire as well. And, of course, never leave young children unattended near open flames.
7. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes and kids can rip off wrapping paper faster than you can say “watch out for staples!” Keep a watchful eye for staples and other sharp objects. String and ribbons should also be kept away from kids for fear of strangling.
8. Check for sharp edges on furniture and install corner and edge bumpers to make the edges blunt.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Keep appliances and office and exercise equipment that might injure children out of their reach and unplugged. Also be mindful of hot appliances and objects to avoid scalding or burns.
13. 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 cords or tack them up to avoid kids from strangling themselves.
14. Guns. If you must keep them in your home, make sure they are securely locked away and that ammunition is stored elsewhere.
15. Keeping baby safe in the crib is a whole ‘nother story. Remember the cute bumpers and blankies we kept in them for our own kids? Today's logic says remove everything from the crib except baby – no bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or 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.
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 and safe holiday season to you and yours.
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