Childproof Your Home Daycare
While you may pride yourself on being an attentive adult with excellent supervisory skills, taking care of several children for prolonged periods will occasionally make your head spin. Also, as a home daycare provider, you tend to wear many hats e.g. teacher, chef, mediator e.t.c.
Trying to fulfill these multiple roles while constantly keeping an eye on the children will undoubtedly reduce your efficiency since your brain is programmed to focus only on one task at a time. For these reasons, and as an extra precaution to prevent any accidents that may cause injury to the children in your care, it is important that you childproof your home.
Below is a list of the most common areas and objects that require childproofing and the best way to go about it.
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Install stair gates at the bottom and top of every staircase. The gates prevent children from accessing the stairs. Look for gates that are sturdy and not easily dislodged by children. In this sense, gates that are screwed onto the walls are highly preferred over “pressure” gates.
Tip: Since there is no “standard” staircase, finding the perfect stair gate for your stairs may require a bit of trial and error.
The most effective way to childproof windows is to lock them. Make sure the lock is firm and out of reach of the children.
Also, examine the window blinds to ensure there are no loose cords which might cause accidental strangulation. Keep cords high and out of the children’s reach. You can attach a tension device to avoid children putting a cord around their neck. Finally move all furniture away from windows and window coverings.
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If you must have the windows open, then use a highly functional window wedge/stop to prevent children from opening the windows fully and climbing outside.
Use edge bumpers and corner guards on pointy surfaces and furniture edges to prevent injury. These are adhesive pads that are firm and protect the body from potentially painful bumps.
Use childproof caps to cover all electrical outlets. The caps are made from tough plastic and can be plugged directly onto the outlets with ease. Once properly attached they are very difficult for children to peel off since the exposed area is flat. You can also have socket outlets fitted with tamper proof receptacles that only open when a force is applied simultaneously to all the socket holes. Since children cannot do this, their safety is guaranteed since it is impossible for them to insert any objects into the sockets.
Use doorknob covers. The covers require the user to exert adequate pressure on some components which only large hands can be able to do. You can also have the locks placed higher on the doors where children can’t reach them.
Drawers and Cabinet Doors
Use safety latches on cabinet doors and drawers. The latches should be capable of withstanding tugs and pulls from children. Alternatively, you can even remove the knobs off your drawers especially if you use rarely open them.
Install a toilet lock to ensure children do not lift up the toilet lid. Use baby proof covers on the door knobs. You can also do the same on the hot water taps. Place all cleaning products, medicines, scissors and other sharp and pointy objects on a raised locked cabinet out of the reach of children. Use anti-scalding appliances on shower heads and faucets and set the thermostat temperature in the heaters to below 120 degrees.
Place knives and other cutlery in raised cabinets away from the reach of children. If you have low cabinets consider using magnetic locks to secure all the cabinets that hold your cutlery, crockery, dishwashers, and even detergents. Magnetic locks only require one “key” and are very difficult for kids to figure out. And don’t forget your gas range, you can get safety nobs for the dials.
Have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed in the bedrooms and napping areas to monitor CO levels to avoid CO poisoning. It is especially advisable to use these detectors in homes that are powered with oil or gas or homes that are attached to garages. Make sure you have a good baby monitor, so you can keep an eye on napping little ones.
Depending on your pet, you may need to use barricades to protect children from pets. This prevents the pets from wandering into the children’s area with any harmful substances they may have picked up outside. Alternatively, you can contain the pets in a pen indoors to prevent any interaction with the children.
If you have a pet in your home, you should outline in your contract and handbook if your pet will be allowed around the kids or not.
References and Helpful Links How To Childproof Your Home Daycare