Childproof Your Home on a Budget
Child Safety at Home: Good Solutions Don’t Have to Break the Bank
Childproofing your home can cause a huge strain on your time and budget. You not only have to research available products (of which there are many) to determine which are necessary, but then you have to weigh the cost against the possibility that they could save your child’s life. All of that input could send you into a tailspin. In reality, all new parents are tempted by gadgets and innovations that promise to protect your child…for a price. But by using a little common sense, you can determine which ones are an absolute necessity and which are basically bunk. To help you get started, here are a few cheap childproofing solutions that every parent should consider.
1. Baby gates are something that you should look into if you have stairs, since many child accidents include spills. Although they can get pricey, you really needn’t invest in the top-of-the-line model. They all perform the same basic function, which is to act as a barrier. So go for the $30 model (rather than the $100 option) and use the extra money for other safety products.
2. Covers for electrical outlets become essential as soon as your child begins to crawl (sometimes even sooner). Kids are curious and outlets will certainly capture their interest, so stop them from inserting fingers and other hazardous objects by covering the holes. You can usually find a couple dozen for less than $10.
3. If you’re worried about cuts and bruises from sharp corners (with dubious balance, kids tend to run into things), consider corner guards as an alternative to tossing perfectly good furniture. They’re not always easy to find, but you can get a good price on multi-packs at Amazon (8-packs are under $10 for some brands).
4. Most children go through a phase where everything they touch goes straight into their mouth. To prevent them from accessing harmful or poisonous items, secure your cupboards with locks and latches. They can be purchased at both baby-centric shops and hardware stores, but to save on cost, go for the latter. Home Depot has 3-packs of safety latches and 2-packs of locks (they go around the handles) for under $5 each.
5. A baby emergency/disaster kit is something every parent should have. You will be hard put to find this on your own, but luckily, you can put it together yourself with many items you already have. Most emergency kits come with medical supplies, so if you have an adult kit, you don’t need to add those to one specifically made for your child. What you should include (in an easily portable bag) is the following: baby food, formula, purified water, bottles, baby aspirin, diapers and wipes, baby powder, blankets, washcloths, and clothes. You may also want to throw in toys, pacifiers, and a baby-sling or backpack. Of course, you’ll need to swap out items as your child ages, but you should be able to put together a basic kit for under $50.
Your child’s safety is of the utmost importance, but short of confining them to a bubble for the next 18 years, you can’t keep them safe 100% of the time. You can, however, take steps to ensure their safety around the house, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Just use common sense to sort through the hype and determine which products are worth the investment.
Jennifer Kardish is a communications coordinator at Wholesale Kitchen Cabinets. You can check out their free design tips for your kitchen and home.