A Closer Look: Child safety devices should be easy to useOriginally published in the London Free Press
By Rob Parker
Is your home child safe?
Each year in Ontario many children are injured and sometimes killed by hazards and accidents occurring in the home.
The good news is many of these incidents can be prevented. Here are some of the most common child-safety devices:
• Safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access to medicines and household cleaners, as well as knives and other sharp objects. Look for latches adults can easily use, but are sturdy enough to withstand pulls and tugs from children.
• Safety gates can help keep children away from stairs or rooms that have hazards in them. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For the top of stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure than “pressure gates.”
• Door knob covers and door locks can help keep children away from hazards, including swimming pools. Be sure the door knob cover is sturdy enough not to break, but allows a door to be opened quickly by an adult in case of emergency. To prevent access to swimming pools, door locks should be placed high out of reach of children. Locks should be used in addition to fences and door alarms. Sliding glass doors, with locks that must be re-secured after each use, often are not an effective barrier to pools.
• Set your water heater temperature to 120 F (50 C) to help prevent burns from hot water. Consider using anti-scald devices for faucets and showerheads. A plumber may need to install these.
• Install window guards and safety netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks, and landings.
• Corner and edge bumpers can be used with furniture and fireplace hearths to help prevent injuries from falls or to soften falls against sharp or rough edges. Look for bumpers that stay securely in place.
• Outlet covers and outlet plates can help protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution. Be sure outlet protectors cannot be easily removed by children and are large enough that children can’t choke on them.
• Safety tassels on mini-blind cords and tension devices on vertical blinds and drapery cords can help prevent deaths and injuries from strangulation.
• Door stops and door holders can help prevent small fingers and hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door hinges. Be sure any safety device for doors is easy to use and is not likely to break into small parts, which could be a choking hazard for young children.
• Cordless phones help you watch your child continuously, without leaving the vicinity to answer a phone call. Cordless phones are especially helpful when children are in or near water, whether it’s the bathtub, the swimming pool, or the beach.
Any safety device you buy should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to your child, yet easy for you to use. It’s important to follow installation instructions carefully.
Remember, too, that no device is completely childproof. Determined youngsters have been known to disable them. Check these safety devices frequently to make sure they are secure and properly installed and maintained.
Rob Parker is a registered home inspector (RHI) with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, and an ASHI certified inspector (ACI) with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Rob can be reached at Thamespec Home Inspection Service (519) 857-7101, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thamespec-inspections.com
Date : 9/6/2017