Editor’s Note: As we know, safety is top on the list for grandparents when it comes to their grandchildren. We’ve published numerous lists and reminders, but in my opinion, you just can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting your grandkids from dangers right in your own home.
Childproofing your home should not be a difficult task. The problem doesn’t stem from not wanting to do it, but from not knowing where to start, what to do and most
importantly how to do it correctly as you only have one chance to get it done right.
Accordingly to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 2.5 million children are injured and some killed each year by dangers right in their own home. It is estimated that 90% of these accidents are preventable. That’s why it’s so important for grandparents to carefully childproof their home.
Your grandchild’s pediatrician will remind the parents when your grandchild turns six months old that they need to begin the process of childproofing, but who reminds the grandparents? As grandparents, you play a very important role in keeping your grandchild’s environment as safe as possible. The measures that the you take now and in the future are very important to maintaining an adequate level of safety. Childproofing does not remove the need for adult monitoring and control. Just stepping out of room can result in injuries or harm to your grandchild (just ask the mom in Denver that stepped into her closet momentarily to walk out and see her three-year-old holding a loaded handgun shooting himself in the foot). Always keep in mind that your grandchild can be faster than you think. As a reminder, there is no substitute for continuous and adequate adult supervision of children.
If you are not certain as to what should be done, many people refer to Professional Childproofers. These experienced individuals deal with each home project carefully. You can find more information companies that do this at the International Association for Child Safety (www.IAFCS.org).
There is no set way of making every home safer for a child. But from my own experience and from data gleaned from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Safe Kids Worldwide, I list out what I believe are the Top 10 most
overlooked childproofing issues:
1. Falls – The number one cause of preventable hospitalization for children four and under is falls. Falls can happen from stairs, going through or over stair railings, falling after climbing up on the outside of a stair railing, or out windows.
2. Drowning – The next biggest preventable cause of injury or death in children four and under is drowning. It is possible for a child to drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Protect your grandchild from any standing source of water, like pools, hot tubs, toilets, bathtubs and utility buckets.
3. Kitchens & Baths – These are the two most dangerous rooms in a home. All sorts of problems can occur here. There are many objects that are attractive and fun for kids here. Knives, glass objects, big food items, hot surfaces, poisons. The list goes on and on. Lock and latch as many areas as possible, or better yet
put unsafe items way out of the reach of a child.
4. Strangulation – There are a great deal of ways for children to get strangled.
These include window and curtain cords, electrical and video monitor cords,
tethered pacifiers, etc.
5. Electrocution – Children are naturally attracted to items powered by electricity.
Their inquisitive nature takes them to the outlet. Always ensure that outlets are
6. Choking – All sorts of hazards for choking exist for children. The bottom line is if
it is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper roll tube, a child may choke on it.
7. Door Safety – There have been many children that have injured or amputated
their fingers due to closing of a door, whether on the latch or hinge side.
8. Falling Furniture & TVs– A very common area that parents forget about
protecting is furniture, especially ones that are prone to falling over if a child pulls
a drawer out or climbs on a shelf. And don’t overlook one of the more common
issues – the unmounted flat-screen TV – as they are very easy to slide or be
pulled over, many times with tragic consequences.
9. Poisoning – All sorts of items around your home are poisoning hazards;
Chemicals, cleaning solutions, medications, even spices. One to two teaspoons of
salt can be dangerous, more can be lethal. Fluoride toothpastes are also
dangerous. It you are ever in doubt with what may happen after a child ingests
something, immediately call the Poison and Drug Control Center at 800-222-
1222. By the way, everyone who supervised a child should have this number
programmed into their cell phone as you never know when an ingestion event
10. Childproofing Too Late or Inadequately – You should childproof your home as soon as your grandchild starts to crawl (preferably before), and no later than when they start walking. At this point in time, they can move to an item that looks intriguing, but is actually an injury waiting to happen.
This list should not be considered comprehensive. It is a starting point that you should be considering to keep your grandchild as safe as possible. But as stated earlier, childproofing is not a substitute for diligent, constant and appropriate adult supervision. Childproofing goods can break or may not work properly over time. Many of the devices that are used for childpooofing are made out of plastic so it’s important that all devices are periodically checked for viability and proper operation.
Lastly, most people do not budget enough time to childproof their home. It can easily take 50 or more hours, even if you are handy, to childproof a 2,400 to 3,000 square foot home. If you don’t feel you are up to doing the job, call in a professional childproofer, especially someone who is a Certified Professional Childproofer®. They have the right knowledge, experience, expertise, tools and products to help safeguard your grandchildren. They can also save you a lot of time and worry.
Louis Delaware, The Home Safety Guru® is a Licensed General Conteractor, an Advanced Certified Professional Childproofer®, a Certified Aging In Place Specialist®, Certified Radon Mitigator along with other safety certifications. Louie’s book, the Home Safety Guru’s Definitive Guide on How to Childproof Your Home is available at Amazon.com in print and for Kindle versions at www.HowToChildProofYour Home.com.
For more information about Louie Delaware, go to his web site,
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