10 Tips to Babyproof Your Home

Written by Baby Safe Homes Denver

Bringing a child into your home is a beautiful experience, and just as you can expect your lifestyle to change as a result, so should your home. As your baby develops and becomes more mobile and curious, they explore, discover and test every corner of your home

Babyproofing or childproofing, refers to the process of altering your home to make it a safer environment for infants and small children. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of this process, so we spoke with an expert about the best way new parents can prepare.

 

Staci Baker, Owner of Baby Safe Homes Denver, is a Certified Child Safety Expert, trained in evaluating the safety and layout of homes as well as installing babyproofing products. In addition to her formal qualifications from the IAFCS (International Association for Child Safety), Staci is also a mother to four grown children, which has provided her with years of hands-on childproofing experience in several different homes.

Recently, according to the Center for Disease Control, over 16,000 children ages 0-19 die each year and 9.2 million visit the ER from some controllable reason like poisoning, drowning, suffocation and other fatal injuring from being struck from falling objects. “Accidental injury is the leading cause of death in kids up to 14 years old — and more than a third of these injuries happen at home,” Staci explains why she became a childproofing professional with Baby Safe Homes Denver. A professional babyproofer is trained and can help you identify potential hazards in your home you may overlook and reduce the risk of accidents.

The following TEN tips Baby Safe Homes Denver recommend first for new parents who want to ensure their home is as safe as possible prior to the arrival of their child.

1 Install Baby Gates

The first thing many parents do to babyproof their home is to install a child safety gates. For maximum safety, Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends installing a gate at both the top and the bottom and doing proper research to ensure the gate model is safe and appropriate for your specific staircase. Never install a pressure mounted gate at the top of your stairs. Installation by a babyproofing professional like Baby Safe Homes Denver is recommended.

2 Safe Storage

Nine out of ten poison incidents in children occur in the home,” warns the Child Safety Council, highlighting the importance of her next tip.

Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends installing door and drawer safety latches in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms and utility rooms where chemicals, cosmetics and unsafe or small gadgets are stored. Remove live and artificial plants from childrens, reach. Store chemicals, medicines, and cosmetics in a high and/or locked cabinet to avoid instances where children may touch or consume them. In many cases, it only takes a microscopic amount of a common household liquid to severely harm a child, which is why this tip is so important. Program the Poison Control number into your phone today 1-800-222-1222.

3 Avoid Choking Hazards

While avoiding choking hazards may seem obvious, Baby Safe Homes Denver points out that not all hazards are immediately recognized for the risk they can pose to a child.

Common choking hazards that parents may not think of include button batteries, small stones, marbles, coins, plants, dirt, artificial grasses and balloons.”

Staci also warns of magnets, small toys, and sticky or round foods such as dried fruit, popcorn, and hot dogs.

4 Secure Furniture

While it’s no surprise that most furniture poses a risk to small children, many parents are unsure what they can do about it. Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends hiring a qualified professional, to install furniture and TV straps that can help secure the furniture in your home and reduce the risk of a tip-over accident.

5 Tie-Up Blind Cords

Blind cords may not be the first thing you think of in your home that could be life-threatening to children, but approximately two children per day are treated in an emergency department for injuries caused by window blinds. Tying the cords in your home up and keeping them out of reach is critical for ensuring the safety of your children.

6 Install Electrical Safety Products

While some of the risks in your home may only pose a threat while your child is in infancy, electrical safety is important for children of all ages. Thankfully, there are products available that make this tip easy to follow. For example, outlet covers are an easy to way to reduce risk, especially when you consider there are usually several outlets per room in the average home, each one of them posing a risk to your child.

7 Install Smoke and CO Detectors

While it’s clear why having fully functional smoke detectors installed in your home is recommended, the importance of having Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are less well known.

Carbon Monoxide is odorless and can be present in any home with a heat source,” Staci says. “CO detectors will alarm in the presence of the gas before more dangerous warning signs are present like headaches, dizziness and fatigue.”

High concentrations of carbon monoxide has been known to kill adults in less than five minutes It is wise and economical to invest in a CO detector for each level of you home.

8 Practice Water Safety

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 and can be preventable,” Baby Safe Homes Denver says, introducing her next tip: safety around water.

Staci explains that children can drown in less than 2 inches of water and lists several easy tips for parents to ensure their children stay safe around water.

Watch your children undistracted when in or around water.  Empty buckets and kiddie pools and turn them upside down when not in use.  Close toilet lids and use toilet locks in the bathrooms.  Install fences around pools and ponds.”

And Staci’s most important tip for water safety?

Know what to do in an emergency, call 911 and learn CPR.”

9 Keep the Water Temperature at 120 Degrees

Another hazard associated with water is the temperature.

Water temperatures is recommended to be 120 degrees to prevent significant injury due to burns,” Staci says. “Water heater temperatures that are set at 140 degrees can cause scalding burns to children within 5 seconds.”

       Staci says the easiest way to prevent this is to manually set the temperature at the source – the hot water heater. Secondly, you should always test bath water with your hand before placing your child in the tub.

10 In Baby’s Bedroom

When using a changing table, Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends always using the safety strap. Additionally, lower the crib mattress sooner than later as your child begins to roll from back to tummy.

By following these tips, new parents can make a proactive effort to reduce the risk of harm to their children while at home. A professional baby proofer can install child safety products guaranteed correctly the first time and in most cases same day installation. On average a homeowner will spend 8-12 hours and several trips to a variety of stores only to end up frustrated because the products do not fit or are too difficult to install. Save time and money, hire a professional babyproofer such as Baby Safe Homes Denver. Contact her directly for an in-home safety consultation 720-504-4838-home consultation 720-504-4838.

 I Child-Proofed My Home but They Keep Getting In!

Nine months ago you welcomed into your home your new bundle of joy and life as you knew it changed forever. Now it seems almost overnight your beautiful, giggly, curious and cautious baby blossomed into a walking, talking, rambunctious toddler whose curiosity for adventure is endless! You suddenly feel man-to-man coverage is no longer effective and immediately switch to full on ZONE defense!

“How did this happen?”

“We’re not ready for this!”

“Help!”

Sorry parents, unfortunately all household problems cannot be solved with duct tape and a glass of wine. Fortunately however, you can gain some sanity back with a little babyproofing and a common sense approach to protecting your toddler against potential dangers in your home. Seriously, can you not wait to see the look on their little face when they can no longer empty EVERY SINGLE piece of plastic ware from your kitchen drawer? Priceless. I know. I have 4 children, the struggle is real. Deep breath. You’ve got this.

Consider these facts:

  • #1 cause of death among infants and toddlers are PREVENTABLE household accidents
  • Every day almost 39K children sustain injuries requiring medical attention
  • Nearly 3 million children are treated in the ER each year for fall-related injuries

Professional babyproofers with Baby Safe Homes Denver can help you protect your most precious asset, your child. Here are some tips to get you started when making your home safe. The simplest way to understand and see the dangers of your home is to get down on their level and look around each room. There are 3 phases to childproofing to be tackled in phases or in one sweep of home security. These stages are crawling, cruising and pulling themselves up on furniture and lastly, walkers…or some cases…..runners…..!

Baby Gates 101. There are many products and brands to choose from including pressure mounted, swing open hinge gates and sectional gates. First ask yourself, what areas do we need to add another layer of protection to keep our child safe? Stairs often first come to mind to prevent unwanted falls and mobility throughout the house. Keep in mind never mount a pressure gate at the top of stairs. The biggest risk to your child is an improperly installed child safety gate and a false sense of security.

Entrapment. As your toddler gains mobility there comes increased opportunity of finding themselves in tight spots or pulling furniture over onto themselves. Keep all furniture away from windows and open stairwells/lofts. Secure large and small pieces including dressers, changing tables, TV’s and consoles to the wall. Any window above the first floor is recommended to be protected from danger with a window guard product and limitation of opening them to 4” or less.

Electricity. Outlets and cords pose shock and burn dangers to your child as they crawl and explore. Outlet covers are a good idea in every area of your home. Protect every family member with carbon monoxide detectors outside the bedroom.

Household Hazards. Cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, cosmetics, medication, all need to be properly secured behind cabinets or drawers with installed locks. Keep all window covering cords out of reach, especially in the baby’s room and play areas. Most importantly, if there are older siblings, small toys and craft items need to have a separate place that is secured and out of reach.

          Water. Keep Fido’s water and food bowl elevated or in a separate baby-proofed area only the pets have access to. Toilet locks are an excellent way to prevent drowning hazards for your child. A child can drown in as little as 2” of water. Don’t forget pool security for backyard swimming pools and ponds.

Baby proofing can be overwhelming and sincerely frustrating after your 10th trip to the home improvement store. Take back your space and sanity by hiring a babyproofing professional. Help is just a phone call away. Baby Safe Homes Denver is pediatrician recommended and offers same day installation. For more child safety tips check them out online at http://www.babysafehomes.com/baby-proofing-denver-colorado/ or call for a safety evaluation and ask them about your $99 installation special 720-504-4838!

Author: Staci Baker, Certified Child Safety Expert and Owner, Baby Safe Homes – Denver

Aging In Place – A Senior Living Choice

What is Aging in Place?

Aging in place means a person making a conscious decision to stay in the residence of their choice for as long as they can with the comforts that are important to them. As they age these may include adding supplementary services to facilitate their living conditions and maintain their quality of life.

Aging in place refers to a person 65+ that can live in the residence of their preference and are still able to access the things they require and are used to in their daily life.

When to Start Planning

Aging in place means a person being able to live in the residence of their choice without losing their quality of life when they reach senior age. Modifications and home accessibility will make their quality of life better whenever possible.  

To live out later years as comfortably as possible, financial and economical plans should be put in place from your earliest working years. Aging in place though it refers to persons of retirement age should concern everyone as soon as possible from their earliest years of one’s career. 

Challenges

Aging changes everyone. No matter how fit we are and how much we take care of our bodies, eat right, exercise and keep our minds well trained and souls happy with mindfulness and being grateful, aging changes us despite all this.

Realistically we are looking at certain inevitable physical, mental and emotional changes. Not all of them need be negative. For instance some aging changes can be highly beneficial, like learning to be more patient and tolerant as opposed to impatience and rudeness in our younger years. What is undeniable is our bodies and our mental capacities do change irrevocably. Some of the subtle and not so obvious changes usually include some of the following:

  • Poorer eyesight
  • Reduced muscle mass and hence less strength
  • Diminished endurance both physical and mental
  • Higher risk of accidents due to bone fragility, less balance while walking
  • Reduced hearing capacity
  • Diminished mobility and agility
  • Decreased flexibility

These changes are inevitable, whether you get some of them at 50 or do not experience any until after you hit 70. Planning for your future residence with these in mind means you will be better prepared to combat any challenges that may be thrown at you due to these changes that come with time. Aging in place well means planning in advance for any future changes.

These physical, mental and emotional changes affect the daily life of seniors. We can see the way they affect them in their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). 

Some common examples of ADL may include the following:

  • Ability to go out and come back home without incidents or anxiety
  • Taking public transportation easily and without mishaps
  • Be able to drive safely, able to navigate congested roads, confusing exits and highways
  • Making it to social events without difficulties
  • Maintaining one’s home and outdoors easily without strain
  • Taking care of one’s health, which includes being able to do chores necessary to eat healthily to doing regular fitness or exercise routines without hardship.

Aging in place often factors in these everyday activities and how one would meet them in later years, with possibly some added physical complications like poorer eyesight or loss of hearing or how a physical condition like diabetes or cardiac problem complicates even seemingly everyday activities, such as gardening or lifting heavy things when cleaning the house.

The Importance of Aging in Place

At present, many senior persons +65 or older live either with their spouse or by themselves in their own homes. A majority of them have issues with everyday tasks, taking care of their health doing everyday activities even within their homes. As a consequence, the quality of life for many has suffered.

In 2000, there were just over 35 million American citizens aged 65 or older. By 2030, according to the US Census Board, there will be about 70 million Americans aged 65 or older. Which would make this age group almost 20% of the total US population.

The social, economical, physical, emotional, not to mention the medical challenges the rise of this aging population places on the fabric of our civic society is enormous. If going forward, successive governments in the federal and state levels do not figure out a way to handle the upcoming challenges ushered in by the aging population, the US will be facing a major dire predicament due to insufficient, misplaced or underused resources to address aging challenges. This is turn affects how well aging in place measures can be implemented in society.

What it Means to Me and My Family?

More personal challenges and changes typically include redecorating existing homes for easier accessibility, or even moving to a smaller, easier to maintain home and garden. Setting aside some time to live a more balanced life, dealing with home and work issues and managing stress in a more composed way. Deciding the level of aging in place choices one wants, requires and can be the best suited – either independent houses and flats, individual housing but in senior communities, care homes but with minimal assistance, the choices are many and varied to suit all needs, tastes and budgets.

What is important is one needs to make a list of what is of utmost importance to them and be honest about what they can and cannot do, put up with and afford. Aging in place means you will ultimately need to ask yourselves some hard questions:

  • What is the ideal way for you to spend your retired years?
  • Where exactly – type of home environment you see yourself in – individual, community, assisted?
  • What special health care do you require or think you will ?
  • What other types of supplementary services you may require ?
  • What options have you provided for in case of emergencies, life changing events, accidents etc ?

Aging in place well means you plan out your future years before it become urgent and life changing. It requires one to provision for and make choices and preferences clear to family and friends. Aging in place does not mean that you need to do everything yourself. You can choose to do as little or as much as you want, can, and are capable of.

And far from being a distant phenomenon one’s needs to think of in their later years, aging in place is something most of us need to think about and provision for as early as we can.

 

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