With the holidays ahead, you may find guests in your home who are under the age of 2. If you don’t have kids, you’ll want to make some home modifications to keep your young visitors safe. While that may sound like a lot of work, it’s not as difficult as you might think. The peace of mind you’ll have will far outweigh the small amount of work involved.
To start, you can:
- Get on your hands and knees for a child’s view of your home
- Put plug covers on all electric outlets
- Install corner guards, or put padding, on all tables
- Put signs in the bathroom reminding users to keep the toilet lid down
- Remove all bathroom appliances, like hair dryers
- Put duct tape over the bathroom door lock to prevent accidental incarceration
- Ask guests with kids to bring cabinet and drawer locks
The holidays bring a few extra concerns to be aware of:
There are probably easily accessible ornaments, lights, and other shiny objects hanging from your tree which any toddler worth their salt will immediately want to shove into their mouth. Make certain that no tree decorations are low enough for a child to grab.
Candles, tablecloths, mistletoe, holly—kids love examining things that are new and different. A lit candle can be a real attention-getter, so keep them up and away from kids. Little ones also seem drawn to tablecloths, pulling on them until food and place settings are heading toward the floor. Avoid using tablecloths, if possible, or tape the hanging cloth to the underside of the table. Mistletoe and holly are both poisonous. To be safe, make certain all plants are beyond a child’s reach.
Between wrapping paper, bows, and packing material, holiday gifts are a choking hazard waiting to happen. Keep holiday gifts where kids can’t get to them. If you’re opening gifts with children around, have someone in charge of immediately discarding wrappings into an out-of-reach container.
The kitchen is fraught with danger, even for adults. Hot ovens, scalding liquids, sizzling plates of food—some of it being carried by people not looking for kids to trip over. Keep children out of the kitchen at all times. Buy a child-proof gate to put at the kitchen entryway. A gate is inexpensive, you’ll use it every time you have children in the house, and parents will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
For more tips, check out Childproofing Experts. If you don’t have the time to make the necessary safety modifications, the International Association for Child Safety will find a certified, professional childproofer in your area that will do it for you.