Seven Ways to Make Your Home Safer for Kids
SmartCam, Smart Leak Sensor Kit, Hedge App, Home Security, Home Monitoring, Home Tips
Published: February 12, 2021
You want your home to be a safe haven for your family — a place to play, love, and grow together. But everyday household situations can put our children at risk. According to the CDC, thousands of accidental burn, choking, and poison incidents occur in homes across our country each year.
With a little diligence, though, it's easy to minimize your home's risks. Read on for seven top ways to keep your kids safe at home.
1. Put yourself in your child's shoes
First things first: children experience the world differently than adults. To set up the safest possible space, get down to their eye level and see what they see. Spend some time on your hands and knees and take stock of anything that might look particularly enticing to your kids.
Keep your eyes peeled for:
- Unstable objects a child could pull or push over
- Small spaces you didn't realize they might be able to fit into
- Furniture they can climb to reach "off limits" items
2. Play it safe with electricity
Electrical cords and outlets are a common household hazard. Children don't understand that they can be dangerous — and in many cases, they think appliances look like fun toys. Here are a few ways you can keep your kids from experimenting with outlets, cords, and plugs.
Secure unused wall outlets
You can secure unused wall outlets with a plastic insert — but keep in mind that these small pieces can be pulled out (and potentially swallowed) by curious kids. It's best to use safety outlets, also known as tamper resistant receptacles, to prevent children from inserting foreign objects. You can also use your furniture arrangements to block outlets in a pinch.
Hide or tape down electrical cords
Prevent your children from chewing on or pulling up dangerous cables by hiding your electrical cords under furniture or taping them down to the floor. You can also invest in a handy hide-a-cord device as a more long-term solution.
3. Keep smoke and carbon monoxide detectors working
The US Fire Administration recommends changing your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year. Just keeping it charged isn't enough, though — you should also replace the entire unit every 10 years. Similarly, change your carbon monoxide detector batteries every six months, and replace the entire thing every seven years. In between battery changes, test all your alarms at least once a month. Also — make sure you've installed them on every level of your home, particularly near sleeping areas.
4. Store common hazards out of reach
It's easy to forget just how many everyday objects can be hazardous in little hands. Here's a short list of items to keep out of reach:
- Matches, lighters, and oil
- Cleaning supplies
- Medicines and vitamins
- Scissors, knives, and other sharp objects
- Hair dryers and other electrical appliances
- Candles (even when unlit)
You can place these materials up on high, out-of-sight shelves — or you can install childproof locks on a few designated cabinets. Consider doubling up on your protection of things like toxic cleaning supplies by keeping them in a secure container in a separate room your kids don't regularly use.
5. Mount cabinets and electronics to the wall
Children have a knack for turning their homes into playgrounds. While blanket forts and games of "make believe" are all good fun, play can get dangerous when little ones try to climb to new heights. Furniture tip-overs are responsible for nearly 15,000 emergency room visits each year.
To keep your kids safe, secure all shelving units, dressers, televisions, and other large appliances to the wall whenever possible. Many items come with their own hardware for this — if not, you can easily purchase the necessary safety straps or L-brackets at a local store.
In addition to wall mounting, follow these tips:
- Opt for furniture that has a wide, solid base.
- Place heavy, bulky items on the bottom shelf.
- Install drawer stops on dressers, particularly on the top drawers.
- Avoid placing attractive objects (like special toys) up high within sight of your kids. This might tempt them to climb.
6. Keep emergency supplies on hand
Despite our best efforts to create the safest possible environment, no one can prevent every accident from happening. Thankfully, the right preparation can make all the difference.
Create an emergency contact list
While it's easy to look numbers up on your cell phone, the last thing you want to do during an emergency is fumble with your device — and your kids might not know how.
We recommend putting a hard-copy emergency information sheet near every phone in the house or in another heavily trafficked area, like on the front of your fridge. Here's what your list should include:
- Your address and phone number
- Name, phone, and address of an emergency contact, like a trusted neighbor
- 911 — while most of us have these three digits thoroughly memorized, having the number in front of you can be helpful if you're in a panic
- Poison control phone number: (800) 222-1222
- Your city's non-emergency police department phone number
- Your city's non-emergency fire department phone number
- Phone numbers for your family's doctors (it's a good idea to include your dentists here as well)
Build a basic first aid kit
Having the right first aid supplies on hand enables you to handle small emergencies and accidents with confidence. Your kit can help you get things under control while waiting for further help — and, perhaps most importantly, it will make you feel calmer and in control.
Store your first aid kit near your emergency contact list so everything is in one place. Here's what you should make sure to include:
- Assorted adhesive bandages
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Roller bandages
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic solution
- Hand sanitizer
- Instant cold compress
- Sterile gauze pads
- Disposable nonlatex gloves
Regularly check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date items. Additionally, consider investing in an illustrated first aid manual to help your family effectively use needed supplies.
7. Invest in smart home monitoring devices
Placing a "smart" security camera in your baby or small child's room can help you keep a virtual eye on them during bedtime (or naptime). Some security cameras — including our SmartCam — also monitor for motion and noise, sending you an app notification if your child starts to stir (or attempts to escape their room).
Smart home devices can help you create a better home environment for your child in other ways, too. Consider our Leak Sensor (another device included in our Hedge Packages): it monitors and alerts you to shifts in temperature and humidity outside your custom "acceptable" range, helping you keep your home warm and comfortable for your child.
We get it — being a parent can be scary. At times, there seems to be danger around every corner, and your home isn't exempt. But staying informed and following tips like these can help you minimize risks and proactively protect the people you love the most.