Hidden Risks: Is Your Home REALLY Kid-Friendly?

kitchen-2486092_640With kids home for the summer, many parents are becoming painfully aware of just how many things can go wrong with little ones. Curious minds and lack of discernment for danger can leave your child in a precarious situation if you haven’t taken time to think ahead and do some updated “kid-proofing.” Sure, we’ve all been taught how to baby proof our homes: cover electrical outlets, put cords up out of reach, make sure you have pool fencing installed, etc. However, as your children get older, their skills progress and those baby proofing methods of the past won’t do much to stop them.

Here are some unexpected “hot spots” to watch out for in your home…

Stepladders. These can seem harmless, and are often kept in kitchens, bathrooms, or wherever else you need a boost to reach a high shelf. However, these can not only be dangerous for children due to falls from using them incorrectly, but can also lead to harm since they allow children to reach “danger zones” like the stovetop, countertop knife block, chemical cleaners in upper cabinets, etc. Keep your step stool locked or in an area not accessible by your small child. It might cost you a few extra steps, but it’s worth it to keep your little one safe.

Stairs. Yes, you likely purchased some baby gates before your children were walking well, but did you know that stairs can be risky even for older kids (or adults)? Have a serious conversation with your kids abut safe stair practices, such as no climbing on handrails, no sliding down stairs, no running on stairs, etc. Additionally, if your stairs are wood or another hard surface, consider installing some type of runner or encourage your kids to go barefoot or wear slippers with grips on the soles instead of taking the stairs in socks (which can be VERY slippery on wooden floors).

Garage. The garage offers a whole host of risks for your child, from gardening tools to dangerous chemicals. It’s best just to keep this part of your home off limits for kids unless they’re under supervision, UNLESS you have the garage organized in such a way where only toys/safe items can be accessed and all others are locked away. If your child can unlock doors, installing a slide lock at the top of the door frame can be an effective option.

Large scale furniture. It’s no secret that very high shelves and similar types of furniture can be dangerous for kids, but did you know that even pieces marketed for children’s rooms and nurseries can be a risk? From dressers to toy storage units, these pieces of furniture have come under fire in recent years, and many companies are now offering safety kids free with the purchase of your piece, or, if you bought from them before the practice was put into place, you can contact them to get your kit free of charge (in most cases). These kits help you fasten the furniture piece to the wall behind it, so even if a young child climbs up, the piece will be prevented from falling on top of them. While this is a good reassurance, children should learn early that furniture is not for climbing, so have this conversation with your young ones if you haven’t already!

Of course, the best way to protect your child, and other children who come into your home, is by having much-needed coverage. From homeowners policies that cover you in the event of someone being injured on your property, to heath coverage to protect your own children, insurance is vital in giving you the peace of mind that’s needed when raising little ones! Carroll Marshall is here to help you determine what types of coverage you need, how much is necessary, and how to make it meet your family’s budget. Give us a call!

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