24 Aug 2017
Posted in: First Time Buyer
Children are a blessing – there’s no doubt about it. It’s a saying that’s spawned an entire cottage industry to embroider such platitudes on throw cushions. But at the same time, every parent knows that kids can be a terror too.
As the comedian Dylan Moran* said, they act like miniature drunks. They are “people who greet you in the morning by kneeing you in the face.” They refuse to do anything “that is not mindless violence for more than five seconds”.
While world-weary comedians might not be the obvious resource for parenting advice, the American stand-up Louis CK also has some wisdom to new parents.
“I’m not raising children,” he explained. “I’m raising the grownups they’re going to be. I have to raise them with the tools to get through life. That’s the way I look at it.”
Still, as a parent, your primary job is to make sure your kids are safe. You can’t keep an eye on them every second of the day – so you need to make your home as risk-proof as possible to help you cope with your child’s kamikaze tendencies.
All joking aside though, the dangers are all too real when it comes to safety in the home. According to the HSE, most injuries in the zero to five age group happen in the home. While that stat is not quite as scary as it seems (kids at that age don’t have much of a social life so they spend the vast majority of their time at home) it’s still worth thinking about.
The HSE acknowledges this – saying that “nine out of every 10 injuries can be prevented by thinking ‘safety’ and acting ‘safely’. Childproofing your home allows you to do this, and so make your home safer for your child.”
There are loads of common sense things you can do – keep medicine in a locked cabinet. Keep knives in a raised cupboard and put gates at the top and bottom of your stairs. If you have a shed with garden equipment or paint in it, keep it locked. Ask if any new appliances you’re buying come with child locks.
These are the crucial ones. You don’t need us to remind you of these but here are three things you might not have thought of to keep one step ahead of your own mini MacGyver.
This one sounds a bit daft but getting down on to ground level really helps you identify the most dangerous items in your house. While the swanky coffee table you got when you just moved into your new home looks great from your standing vantage, it looks positively murderous when you’re crawling around – all edges and sharp corners.
There’s a simple hack for that. Get a foam pool noodle (or a pipe insulator in a hardware shop), cut it up and apply it to any sharp edges. You can even cut them down and use them on door edges to stop little fingers getting caught.
If you only take one thing from this blog, let it be this: remove all cords on any blinds you might have in your house. The same goes for the cords on curtains for that matter. Shops like IKEA don’t even sell them anymore because of the hazard they present to children.
The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine recommends that “cords should end at least 1.6 metres above the ground so children cannot reach them. Replace cords with curtain or blind wands.”
Blind wands are essentially sticks you twist to open and close the blinds.
There’s a great Irish product called Sugru and it really is a cure-all when it comes to childproofing your home. It’s basically like plasticine (or marla/mala if you are a child of the 70s or 80s!) that hardens into rubber and attaches to pretty much any material.
You can use it to cover taps, attach it to sharp edges, or even to attach childproof latches to drawers, cupboards or ovens. It comes in pretty much every colour under the sun so it can match your swanky new interior design without making your entire house look like a crèche.
You can even use it to put a soft covering onto knobbly taps. This might not be a life-saving tip – but it will prevent those sore moments of banging heads against the tap. Which is, if not a life-saver, certainly a sanity-saver.
So there you have it – some easy steps you can take to ensure your kids’ safety…you’re welcome!
Check out this handy guide to building your home in Ireland complete with stories from EBS customers who have already built a home.
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*If we mention celebrities, we’re not saying they love us. They secretly might, but that doesn’t mean they endorse us.