By Melodie Wisniewski
District Reporter #3
What's one of the last things most parents think of after finding out they're pregnant, or after they've had the babies and are on the way home? Safety-proofing the home! There is a whole line of products made exclusively for child-proofing homes and vehicles. By spending an average of three dollars per door knob, cabinet door, bathroom, and table, parents can relax and not worry about babies or toddlers injuring themselves.
The local hardware store or home center will carry a variety of products which include door knob covers, electrical outlet plugs, cabinet locks, toilet seat locks, rubber cushion "bumpers" for table corners, appliance latches for microwaves and refrigerators, window blind cord wraps, and even safety latches for windows to prevent open windows from falling on precious little fingers.
For around twenty dollars, parents can invest in a "baby-gate" for doorways or stairs. These are also excellent to keep for future use for that new puppy who will want to chew everything in the other room, or the kitten who thinks the plants are delicious chew toys. Night lights are also a beneficial addition for the young and old. For about ten dollars, there is a style available that has a dual night light/flashlight setting. The night light setting automatically comes on when plugged into a wall outlet. If the power to that outlet is "cut" or there is a power outage, the flashlight feature turns on, allowing homeowners to remove the unit from the wall and safely move thru the house looking for candles and emergency lanterns.
Before hitting the road, have children's car seats checked to ensure they are properly installed. Most cities offer free car seat safety inspections. Check with the local fire department, police department, or hospital, or do a simple Internet search on the words, "car seat safety inspection" and a city name to find a local car seat safety inspection location.
The car seats have been installed for the adorable little bundles, but has the child safety lock been clicked on? This feature is standard on many vehicles today, but if the family car does not have a factory installed safety switch, check with the dealership about having one installed. These locks can prevent an inquisitive toddler from opening the car door and falling out. Since every little bit helps...ever notice those cute window shades with cartoon characters on them? Those coverings can actually reduce the heat inside the car while protecting little ones from sunburn and allowing them to take a much needed nap while Mom or Dad drive.
After mentally adding up all the "couple of dollars" here and there throughout this article, readers might ask, "Why would I want to spend $300 to safety proof my home and my car?" Why would you NOT want to? Who can put a price on a life? Isn't a couple hundred dollars worth watching your children grow up safe and sound? It's certainly a lot cheaper than an ambulance bill to the hospital! So start with what you've got and get to work safety proofing your home!