Starting a family is a wonderful thing, but it brings with it the responsibility to childproof your home and eliminate any hazards.
Bruce Ayrton, founder of Little Tigers Childproofing Services in Calgary, says one of the main services he provides is a home safety assessment – a room-by-room walkthrough of the entire house to identify potential hazards and suggest solutions.
“There are obvious hazards that parents know and understand – the stairs, chemicals under a sink – but there are many things that, as we go through the home, I point out,” said Ayrton.
He says children can open several dresser drawers, causing the dresser to fall on them, or topple an unsecured TV. A dishwasher door that is not secured can be opened, allowing children to reach knives in the bottom cutlery holders.
“There are obvious hazards that parents know and understand – the stairs, chemicals under a sink – but there are many things that, as we go through the home, I point out.” – Bruce Ayrton, Little Tigers Childproofing Services
Children might also eat fallen leaves from a household plant, some of which are poisonous, or choke on the rubber end from a door stop.
Ayrton says there are many ways to secure dangerous items, and parents can consider making certain rooms child-safe, while closing other areas of the home off to their little ones.
He says his three rules for the childproofing products he supplies to clients are that they must work well, last a long time and look good. That often means finding them online through specialty retailers, rather than buying that cheap, ugly stair barrier from the local department store that will look awful in your nicely decorated home.
Ayrton says the degree to which you need to childproof a home also depend on three factors: how rambunctious your child is, the actual hazards in your home and how diligent you are about supervising your child. He adds there is no set cost to properly do the job, since every situation is different.
For more information, visit the Canadian Pediatric Society’s Caring for Kids website (caringforkids.cps.ca), which has a “Basic Home Safety” checklist that includes room-by-room solutions and best practices to help childproof your home.