How to Childproof Your Home for Visiting Children

List: Posted: 01/16/12

If you don't have children, you may not realize what a potential minefield you house can be for little ones.  If you're expecting children over to your house for Christmas, Thanksgiving etc, you'll need to first childproof your home.  It’s not all that hard to do, and can be done in an afternoon.  If you don’t normally have children running around, you may need to take a second look at your home from a child's perspective, in order to secure or remove items that could be hazardous to the little ones.

 

The Kitchen

 

First, make sure that any chemicals, cleaners, sprays and detergents are put safely out of the way.  Anything obviously toxic like bleach and antifreeze should be moved to a high cupboard or preferably secured in a locked box.

 

You’ll also want to do a tour of your kitchen and remove or hide any sharp objects.  If you have a knife block on the counter, push it back so it’s inaccessible.  Make sure there are no sharp objects lying around the house.  This seems obvious, but adults leave many such items laying out all the time without thinking about it.  Think letter openers, tweezers, clippers, and scissors.

 

The Bathroom

 

Check your bathroom.  Any makeup, soaps or other such 'smellies' should be put in a high cupboard.  They may be played with and destroyed, or (with younger children) eaten!  Never leave any heated hair electronics lying around at any time - put away or hide all hairdryers, curling tongs and hair irons straight after using them, as kids love to play with these and may end up burning or electrocuting themselves.

 

Next, make sure that all medications you take are out of the way.  This includes everything potentially toxic; it's vital to move pet medications, too, including flea shampoo and all vitamins for both humans and animals.

 

Stairs, Garage, and Laundry Room

 

You need to safety-proof areas of your home that kids shouldn’t be in by closing them off, if possible.  One of the easiest ways to do this is simply to close the doors.  If you have a hall or stairway that younger kids need to stay away from, a baby gate is a great way to block it off.  The same goes for the garage and laundry room.  Always shut the door to washing machines or tumble driers, as it is easy for small children to climb inside and become trapped.

 

Outdoor Areas

 

Remember that your outdoor areas have to be child-proofed, too.  Put away any dangerous tools you have in the yard, close and lock garages and sheds, and dispose of smelly or leaking chemical containers and paint tins.  Make sure your fence doesn't have a hole in it or an overhanging tree that can easily be climbed.  If you have a dumpster, old electrical goods or an old disused car on your lot, don't let kids play outside unsupervised for any amount of time.

 

Lawn

 

If you have a lawn, clear it of any pet waste and check it carefully with a rake for nails and broken glass.  Kids love to run around in bare feet and do cartwheels on grass, so better safe than sorry!

 

If you have any doubts, ask the parents what you need to do in your home to ensure a safe visit. To go the extra mile at special family occasions such as birthdays and Christmas, consult a professional to inspect your home to see what items could potentially be hazardous.

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