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Child Safety in the Home

The importance of safety in the world for our little ones goes without question. Our homes are no exception. Unfortunately, around 2.5 million children are injured or killed by hazards in homes every year. Luckily many of these incidences can be avoided with many child-safety products that are available on the market today and building codes that are easy to check and implement.

When using child safety products it is important to remember that nothing is 100% child-proof, children can be extremely curious and persistent and determined individuals can disable our efforts. It is also important to chose items that are not only secure, but easy for adults in the home to use and easy to use all of the time. These are items are only effective when used properly and with consistency.

Common points of concern and items developed for them include:

  • Locks and latches for cabinet doors and drawers. These should be sturdy enough to resist a child pull, but easy enough for an adult to install and use. While these are not a guarantee, they can make it more difficult for young children to get to dangerous household items.

  • Safety gates for doorways and stairs. There are two main types of gate on the market today. One is a pressure-mounted gate which can be used for same level, room-to-room doorways such as keeping crawlers out of the kitchen while cooking. The other type is a hardware-mounted gate. These are securely mounted into walls with screws are recommended for use at the top of stairs.

  • Locks for pool areas. Locks should be placed high and out of reach of children and used with secure fencing. Alarms are also recommended. A locking sliding glass door is not adequate protection.

  • Anti-scald devices are available for faucets and shower heads and setting your water temperature no higher than 120° F.

  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every level of the home and near all sleeping areas. They should be checked routinely and regularly. If battery powered, batteries should be replaced annually.

  • Use receptacle or outlet covers and plates to help prevent children from electrical shock and possible electrocution.

  • Window guards can be used to help prevent serious falls. There should be no more than 4 inches between bars. Keep in mind that each room should have one window available as a fire escape, and furniture should be well away from windows to prevent a child from climbing.

  • Corner and edge bumpers or guards can be used to soften a fall against sharp edges of furnitures such as fireplace hearths.

  • Cut window blind cords to help prevent children from strangling in blind-cord loops. Window blind cord safety tassels on mini blinds and tension devices on vertical blinds and drapery cords can help prevent deaths and injuries from strangulation in the loops of cords. Inner cord stops can help prevent strangulation in the inner cords of window blinds

For parents of children who have outgrown the need for safety gates but are still small and curious, especially those prone to climbing on things, baluster spacing on the handrail becomes a concern. Active Home Inspection Services knows that a stairway with four or more risers should have a continuous handrail not lower than 34 inches or taller than 38 inches on at least one side, with balustrades not more than 4 inches apart from each other. If you have spaces between vertical rails or risers that will allow an object larger than 4 inches to pass between them, they will be reported during an inspection as in need of repair because they pose a risk to a child who tries to climb on the rail or gets stuck between them.

If you have safety concerns or questions about child safety in your home, please don't hesitate to ask us at Active Home Inspection Services.

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