You can read endless articles about how to protect your kids from the dangers in your home, but these articles almost always overlook a glaring mistake: It is your home that needs protecting from your kids. Children are agents of chaos; most work tirelessly to destroy everything they touch, just for the heck of it. When left unsupervised, a child won’t blink at smearing peanut butter on the walls, ripping cabinet doors from hinges, flushing your whole wardrobe down the toilet and filling the oven with toy trucks. In truth, you shouldn’t fear for the safety of your child; you should fear for the safety of your home.
Fortunately, there are more than a few ways to protect your home and your kids from unnecessary harm. Here are some of the best ways to keep your appliances functional, your furniture clean and your kids happy.
Invest in Good Insurance
Accidents happen, and sometimes they aren’t your kids’ fault. Thus, you should ensure you have a comprehensive home insurance policy to protect your property from nasty disasters. Experts say you should have enough insurance to entirely rebuild and refurbish your home. Once you know how much money that costs - which you can ascertain by talking to a home inspector - you need to choose the features of your coverage. No matter what, you should always spring for liability protection, which means visitors injured on your property or damage your kids or pets do to other properties is covered by your insurance.
While you are surveying insurance policies, it might also be wise to look into home warranty programs. These don’t cover accidents; rather, they help you pay for repairs due to regular wear and tear. Different policies will pay for different amounts for protection, so you should determine what systems and appliances you want to be covered while you shop.
Add Locks to Almost Everything
As soon as a toddler becomes mobile, there is no nook or cranny they will not try to reach. To keep them out of dangerous or precious areas, you need to invest heavily in locks. Here are just a few of the different types of locks you need:
- Window guards. These prevent kids from popping screens out of windows and falling to their death.
- Sliding and bi-fold door locks. Closet and pantry doors can easily be yanked apart by little hands. Locks typically hook to the top of these doors, preventing them from coming down on your kids’ heads.
- Cabinet locks. Every door should have some mechanism keeping it shut, but cabinets, which are the perfect height for kids, definitely need special locks. Not only will these prevent doors from being ripped off hinges, but they will keep the stuff inside safe, too.
Choose Better Wall and Floor Coverings
From the time they’re born to well after they leave for college, your kids will sully your walls and floors. That’s why you need to be tactical about choosing coverings that will resist wear, hide dirt and grime or else can be easily and cheaply replaced.
Your first priority should be installing hard floors, ideally, tile but inexpensive laminate will also work. If you can’t live without carpet, you can opt for Olefin fiber, which resists stains more than any other material. Next, you can kid-proof your walls with vinyl-coated wallpaper, which is exceedingly easy to clean, or else high-gloss or semi-gloss paint. You should try to choose a home that doesn’t have much texture on the walls, so spills can be wiped up fast.
Keep Electronics out of Reach
Though we live in the digital age, when children grow up with tablets in hand, it still isn’t safe to have your precious devices within your kids’ destructive reach. You should invest in an entertainment unit that allows you to lock away your modem and router, DVD player, cable box and video game consoles, and you should lock up your home office to keep kiddos out. You should also consider mounting your television set to the wall, where kids can’t climb up and push off.
Use the Cheap Stuff for a While
Instead of the cushioned comfort of double-ply TP, you might need to use the cheap, scratchy stuff until your little ones are thoroughly toilet trained. You might hold off on investing in custom cabinetry until your kiddos can be trusted in the kitchen, and you should stay out of expensive furniture stores until they are deep in their teens. It might seem unfair that you have to live a less lavish life, but you made the choice to bring these tiny terrors into your world.