For many grandparents, safety is a major concern when their grandchildren are visiting. Many grandparents’ homes are not perfectly childproofed. And for most folks belonging to previous generations, their methods of childproofing are a bit different from what childproofing means today.
If you are a grandparent and want to ensure the safety of your grandkids in your home, here are several childproofing methods that you shouldn’t forget:
Cover Electrical Sockets
Buy electrical outlet covers to prevent curious little fingers from touching the sockets. Be sure to cover each outlet that you have in the house, especially those that are within reach of small children. If some of your sockets are occupied by plugs of necessary appliances (e.g. the TV, lamps, etc.), place heavy furniture in front of them to keep kids from trying to pull the plugs.
Lock Up Toxic Chemicals
This includes cleaning products, fertilizers, bug sprays, and every other chemical substance inside your house. Secure everything in a locked cupboard, preferably one that is out of children’s reach.
Place childproof locks on kitchen cabinets
Kitchen cabinets contain all sorts of things that can be harmful to children. Purchase childproof locks for each one and test every lock to confirm that they are difficult enough for small hands to open.
Hide your medication
If you have any medications lying around, hide them all in a safe place. Child-resistant packaging is not one hundred percent effective, and risking leaving medication around curious kids can be dangerous. Medications should be locked in a bathroom cupboard or in a closet whenever your grandchildren are visiting.
Install baby gates
Baby gates keep children safe and your sanity intact. Install them in all the necessary entrances, especially the doorways leading to the kitchen, bathrooms, or basement.
Don’t leave pets unattended
If you have a pet, they may not be used to having children sharing the same space as them. Remember that pets can be territorial, and when they sense something unfamiliar in their territory, they may react aggressively. Even if your cat or dog is the sweetest animal in the world, be wary of their actions when your grandkids are over. Make sure to supervise whenever they are in the same room. And if they are not reacting positively to your grandkids’ presence, keep them in another room or in their crate (if they are crate-trained).
Furthermore, teach your grandchildren how to interact gently with your animal (if they are old enough to understand). If they are still too young, perhaps maintaining a good distance between your pet and your grandkids is the best option.
Invest in a play pen
If you have an infant grandchild that is already crawling around, we advise buying a playpen so that they can play safely on the floor without you having to watch their every move. A collapsible one is a great choice as it’s easier to disassemble and store away. If your child already has a playpen in their home, ask them to bring it when they pay you a visit.
Secure the trash can
Small children may play with just about anything–including the trash. To prevent your grandchildren from putting their hands in the garbage when you’re not looking, keep your trash can in the kitchen cabinet and secure it with a childproof lock.
Anchor heavy objects
When infants start to walk around, they will start to pull up on heavy furniture, such as cabinets, dressers, and TVs. Even if you are watching them, a heavy object can topple over your grandchild in a split second.
To prevent such an event from occuring, anchor all heavy furniture to the wall, including the TV, dressers, cabinets, lamps, and bookshelves.
Replace corded window coverings
Very young children have little to no sense of self-preservation. And with that, they often put things around their neck–even when you tell them not to.
If you have corded window coverings, it’s best to replace them with cordless or inaccessible cord options. Better yet, replace your window blinds with cordless curtains–at least until your grandchildren leave.
Clean up all small objects
Anything that can fit through a tube of toilet paper is a choking hazard. Before your grandchildren visit, go around the house and clean up every small object that you can find. If there are older children coming to visit, advise them to keep their small toys in their room so that the baby won’t find it.
Cushion sharp corners
Place corner guards on pieces of furniture that have sharp corners, such as tables and dressers. There are stick-on options that you can use temporarily so that you don’t end up with baby-proofed tables all-year-round. But if your grandkids visit often, you may want to leave the corner guards on until they grow a little older.
Barricade the fireplace
Place a baby gate in front of the fireplace to keep your little ones from going anywhere near the hearth, especially if you have a fire going. Make sure that the gate is made from metal–not plastic–so that it won’t melt from the heat. Better yet, refrain from lighting up the fireplace when your grandchildren are around, if you can help it–but still place a baby gate around it to keep them from playing in the soot.
Childproofing your home can be tough business. There are so many risks to worry about, and it might seem that practically everything in your house can cause harm to your grandchildren. Luckily, one can never be too prepared when it comes to child safety. Before your family’s next visit, be sure to tick all of these childproofing steps off your checklist.