Kids are adorable, but they’re also mischievous little things. They’re forever on the move and getting into stuff — so keeping track of every single thing they do is pretty difficult. Especially when you’ve got the laundry to tackle, lunches to make, activities to get to, and everything else going on in your life.
If you want to let the little boundary-pushers be somewhat free range, but also want to ensure you can keep them safe, here are a few of our best tips and tricks for safety-proofing your home so you can worry less about what they’re getting into.
Start With Cords, Outlets, and Other Things Kids Can’t Help Exploring
Contrary to what cartoons from our youth told us, there is really no such thing as a safe electrical shock. Even low-voltage shocks can have long-term effects. And because kids are especially curious (and also kind of gross) and put their mouths on everything, they’re at risk of getting a shock. Replace any missing or broken cover plates and install tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles because they have special shutters that cover the plug slots and help prevent little fingers or objects from going into the outlet. Then check all your cords and replace any frayed ones.
Teach Older Kids How to Plug In and Unplug Safely
If it feels like it should be common sense, it probably isn’t to kids. Make sure they know to never overload outlets by plugging in too many cords. Use an approved power bar that has surge protection instead and when it’s time to unplug, don’t yank cords from the wall.
Be Unapologetically Obsessive About Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
You’re invested in raising the little humans — might as well err on the side of caution and keep their sleeping space safe. It’s a good idea to install both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms outside of each bedroom as well as on each level of your home — and in the furnace area. It’s also best to test your alarms at least once a month to make sure they’re working properly. And when you’re stocking up on batteries for your kids’ billions of “batteries not included” toys, grab some extras to replace the alarm batteries every year.
Make Sure Everyone Knows How to Use the Darn Fire Extinguisher
First, is your fire extinguisher actually working? (You may want to check that!) Blow the dust off of it, and then ensure that all family members know how to use it.
Lock All the Things in the Kitchen
You don’t have to do this obviously, but we think it’s a great idea to install a stove lock, have knob protectors on the stove knobs, install an anti-tip bracket on your oven, put in cupboard locks, and even ensure all plastic bags are stored out of reach.
Make Rooms With Water Shock-Free
Kids love playing with water. Water and electricity are obviously not a mix. The solution? Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) — the ones with the reset button — in any room with water, like the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room.
Make the Pool an Impenetrable Fortress
Try installing climb-proof fencing that’s at least 5-feet high on all sides of the pool to help make the pool area safer, get a self-closing gate with a childproof lock, and if the pool can be accessed through a door to the house, have a door alarm installed as well. Let the kids know that if you’re not there, you shall not pass!
Check Your Secondhand Baby Equipment
It’s awesome when you get free hand-me-down baby gear, yes. But it should be checked regularly to make sure it hasn’t been recalled.
Hire an Expert
If you have any electrical work that needs to be done in your home, hire only a Licensed Electrical Contractor to do the work.
If you or someone you know receives a shock, seek medical attention. This post was created in partnership with the Electrical Safety Authority, but the opinions are our own.