Having children is certainly a blessing, but taking care of the young ones and raising them without preparation can be quite disastrous. Children are immensely curious about their surroundings (especially toddlers!), and almost nothing can seem to stop them from lumbering around to explore their new-found world. Child-proofing your house is definitely the way to go to keep your young ones safe. In this article, we will go through what you need to look out for while child-proofing your house without compromising space and style.
Childproofing through DIY
1. Before starting your DIY, look out for potential hazards
Here is a list of potential hazards you might want to look out for:
- Electrical sockets, electrical appliance wires
- Dangling objects such as window blind cords, fashion accessories, or table cloths
- Sharp objects or sharp edges on furniture
- Possible toxic substances such as detergents, cleaning agents, toiletries, paint, etc.
- Small choking hazards such as plastic bags, fridge magnets
- Furniture that are unstable or might tip and fall over
- Medication that are not properly kept
- Plants or any other objects on higher surface that may pose a risk of free-falling
2. It is time to begin the child-proofing process
Firstly, corner and edge bumpers are a must to protect your child from bumping into sharp edges of any tables or cupboards. For doors, cabinets, drawers (or any compartment you want to keep your child away from), you might want to consider purchasing safety latches to keep it safely shut.
Brackets and anchors will be useful for securing bookcases, shelving, fridges or any other heavy furniture that you fear might topple and fall over. Remember to use outlet protectors or safety caps to cover unused electrical outlets as well. You can choose to tie up any exposed electrical cable and place them in boxes as well to prevent your child from tripping over. Safety gates are recommended for keeping your young one out of a “dangerous” zone, like a kitchen, or a bathroom. Some other extra things you might want to add while child-proofing your house can include rugs, carpets, foam mat with skid-proof pads to help cushion falls. Toddlers who have just begun walking are, of course, more prone to falling, hence helping protect your child from bruises while learning to walk is always a plus point. Anti-slip mats and pads in bathroom can be a good idea as well to prevent slips and falls while showering. You may also choose to purchase toilet locks. Younger children tend to be top-heavier, and having the toilet cover up may pose a drowning hazard to your child.
3. Staying stylish while going child-proof
If you have a larger budget, you might want to consider replacing your furniture instead of using corner and edge bumpers. Having furniture that is kid-friendly and bruise-free can help greater reduce the risk of your child hurting themselves when they run and prance around the house – and at the same time, give you an ease of heart. You can also choose to use hidden magnetic locks for your drawers, cabinets, or any compartments you wish to keep closed from your child. These magnetic locks can be unlocked with a key, and still remain as efficient as regular safety locks while preserving the image of your beautiful set of drawers or wardrobe. Remember the safety gates to keep your child out from “dangerous” zones? You can consider getting Dutch doors instead, if you despise the design of safe gates. Dutch doors are doors that have been split in the middle, allowing the top half to open while the bottom half remains close. They look chic and elegant, and acts as a suitable replacement for safety gates should you choose not to purchase safety gates. Replacing glass or ceramic with acrylic or plastic items would be a good idea. Acrylic and plastic are not as brittle as glass or ceramic, hence not as easily broken, resulting in a lower risk of injury towards your young one. They can still look as good, or even better than decorative glasses and ceramics, if properly adorned in the house. As some parents recommend, “Look for items that are wipeable, waterproof and stain-proof. It would save you so much more time and effort cleaning up after your child.”
Childproofing through Hired Help
Nowadays, the more time-efficient and effort-saving way to childproof your homes is to outsource and request for assistance by hiring contractors or a handyman. Most of these services (depending on who you look for) might include inspection of your house, identifying hazards, conducting a discussion for the proper solutions and installing the required products based on the aftermath of the discussion. These services, including products and installation, can cost anywhere from $80/$90 to over $1000, depending on your requirements. For example, here is a short list of some possible costs of installation with the items:
- Heavy duty ring hook for swing, cradle/baby sarong ($15)
- Bathroom grab bar ($30/set)
- Minor Carpentry/Repair work (from $30)
Some other companies that carry out maintenance and handyman services charge by time. It means that it you can hire a handyman from $60 to over $900, ranging from one hour to a whole day, or a few days (usually about 6 hours to 8 hours a day). You might also be able to save some costs if you purchase the materials required for installation on your own. That way, you will also be able to carefully choose designs that are fitted to your tastes and of a suitable budget.
Going DIY is definitely more budget-friendly as compared to hired help or handyman services. However, if you require professional help, it is definitely better to outsource for external services. It is good to know that what childproof features that may be fit for your 4-month old might not be suitable for your 2-year old toddler. It is also good to bear in mind that one day however, your child will grow up, and hence the childproof features need not remain permanent. Childproofing your house is not a fail-proof, sure-guarantee way to preserve your child’s safety at home. Supervision is still required, and always remember to keep an eye on what your child is doing around the house.