Homeowners insurance blog

Grandparents, It’s Time to Baby-Proof Your Home

You’ve got a new grandchild. Right now, at only six weeks old, he’s pretty safe in your home. But it won’t be long until he’s mobile, crawling from danger spot to danger spot. That means you’ve got to start thinking about baby-proofing it.

A side benefit from keeping the baby safe, of course, is protecting your own stuff. No matter how much you love the kid, you don’t want some of your prized possessions to be wrecked.

Following are some tips, by category, for protecting both the child and your things:

The bathroom

  • Many families set their water heater temperatures at 120 degrees or higher. But if an infant will be in the house, turn the temperature down to 110 degrees to avoid accidental burns.
  • Don’t leave standing water in a sink or tub. Purchase and install toilet lid locks. Babies like water and will play in it, regardless of source.
  • Keep safety latches on cabinet doors to keep the infant out of any cleaning solutions or other potential poisons – this also applies to kitchen cupboards. Just in case, keep this number handy for the national poison control center: 800-222-1222.

Electricity

  • Cover all unused electrical outlets with safety plugs. Check behind furniture to make sure you don’t miss any. It doesn’t take much for the baby to get a burn or shock.

Fireplace

  • Even if you don’t light a fire while the baby’s there – and you shouldn’t, you’ll need a hearth cover to keep the child from getting too close to the fireplace. Store any heavy fireplace tools elsewhere.

Doors

  • If you have sliding glass doors, put decals on them so the toddler won’t run into them.
  • Put covers on any doorknobs you don’t want the child to turn.

Windows

  • Keep furniture or anything else that can be climbed away from windows.
  • Adjust windows so they cannot be opened more than six inches.
  • It’s a good idea to install safety glass in low windows – you don’t want the glass to shatter should a child fall into it.

Stairways

  • Keep the stairway clear so you won’t trip while carrying the child.
  • Put a gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep the child from crawling up. Experts are divided on gates at the top of stairs. Many say the child could climb the gate and fall. They recommend placing gates on upstairs rooms where the baby will be kept.

Miscellaneous

  • Don’t keep coins, paperclips or other small objects on low-lying tables where babies can grab and swallow them.
  • Furniture edges should be shielded with bumper pads.
  • Keep dresser drawers closed when you’re not using them.
  • Fasten bookcases to walls so they can’t be pulled over.
  • Cook on back burners whenever possible. Always turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove.

These are just some starting points for keeping your grandchild safe while he or she is visiting your house. Use some common sense and evaluate other dangers for yourself. If in doubt, ask the child’s parents for advice.