By Angie Hicks
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Your home can be a dangerous place for a crawling baby or curious toddler, but there's a lot you can do to make it safer.
Heavy appliances and furnishings alone pose a serious peril. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that a child is killed every two weeks due to unsecured TVs, appliances and furniture tipping over.
After consulting with highly rated childproofing experts, our consumer research team suggests basic steps for making your home safer, including:
Secure furniture, especially bookcases, to walls with metal angle brackets or anchors.
Place outlet covers over all unused outlets. Secure cords along the wall or behind furniture. Don't allow cords to hang off edges of tables or countertops. A child can pull a cord and be hit by an appliance or lamp.
Latch or lock kitchen cupboards and pantry doors. Make sure all hazardous cleaners and other materials are out of the reach of children.
Using safety gates to protect children from going up or down stairs. Avoid using pressure-mounted baby gates on the top of stairs and consider hiring a handyman to install a gate if your stair openings have unique features such as uneven, hollow walls, wrought iron or molding. Gates can also keep little kids out of rooms that contain a hazard.
Make sure window treatments don't pose a strangulation risk. Cords should be secured and tucked up high, away from little hands. They should never be near a crib.
Install window guards so children can't fall through an open window.
Use toilet locks, pool fencing and other water-hazard protections.
Cover furniture edges and other corners that can cause injury.
Many families view childproofing as a do-it-yourself job, and it certainly can be. But there are experts who provide childproofing as a service. Among the advantages of hiring an experienced pro:
He or she may be able to identify potential safety risks you might overlook, and should have the most recent information about the best products and options, as well as specific solutions for unusual aspects of your home, such as a loft or bay window.
An expert should be able to efficiently install more challenging safety equipment, such as gates, pool fencing and furniture anchors.
To find reputable, reliable childproofing experts, consult family, friends, neighbors, as well as online reviews from a trusted source. Questions to ask before you hire anyone include:
Does the company specialize in child safety? Any contractor can claim expertise. But if not installed properly, some products may actually pose an increased risk to your child. Be sure to request, and check with, references.
How many homes have they childproofed? Are they a member of the International Association for Child Safety? Do they use products that have received the stamp of approval from the Juvenile Product Manufacturer's Association? Don't forget to ask about insurance and licensing, if required.
What does the service cost? The cost of hiring a professional is often determined by the amount of childproofing you want and the size of your home. Many companies offer free in-home evaluations, others charge $50 or less. Be sure to get an itemized, written estimate detailing charges for materials and labor. Highly rated pros our team talked to say prices can range from $100 to $2,000, depending on the scope of the job.
Do they offer a warranty on their installations? What about a guarantee on products?
Be wary of any company that uses scare tactics to pressure you into buying unnecessary products.
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To comment or ask a question, please click here. Since 1995, Angie Hicks has been dedicated to helping consumers get the real scoop on local service companies and health providers. Inspired by the frustrations her co-founder had trying to find reliable contractors in suburban Columbus, Ohio, she started Angie's List to help homeowners find who they should hire and who they should avoid.
Since 1995, Angie Hicks has been dedicated to helping consumers get the real scoop on local service companies and health providers. Inspired by the frustrations her co-founder had trying to find reliable contractors in suburban Columbus, Ohio, she started Angie's List to help homeowners find who they should hire and who they should avoid.
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