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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Safe Home Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune! Guest Post!

You want to create a safe and nurturing environment in which to raise your children, but there are a lot of very expensive and unnecessary products on the market that play to your fears. You often fall prey to these pointless devices when your children are newborns and you think you need everything (from disinfecting bottle cleaners to shopping cart protectors), but as your children are born and begin to grow, you can, for the most part, teach them household safety. However, there are a few necessary (and inexpensive) items that you should invest in to keep your children safe.

1. Safety covers for outlets. Small children are always getting into things they shouldn’t, especially once they become toddlers and gain some reach. So spend a few bucks to outfit your outlets with plastic covers to stop your kids from sticking things in there. As they get older, you may also want to protect against electrocution by installing GFCI outlets near water sources (they automatically switch off when wet). Although you do have to pay a licensed technician to install them, chances are you only need a couple, not every outlet in your home.

2. Carbon monoxide detectors. These are small and inexpensive and you really only need one per floor. CO gas is odorless, colorless, and virtually undetectable to human senses, but that doesn’t make it any less deadly. In the rare event that you have a leak in your home, you’ll be glad you invested in one of these plug-in alarms to keep you and your children safe.

3. Fire extinguishers. Any school-age kid can be taught to use a fire extinguisher and since they seem to start using the microwave and cooktop before you know it, you should make sure they know how to stop a fire before they ever have a chance to start one. Remember to write an expiration date on a new canister so you can remember to replace it. Most last 5 to 15 years, but should be checked annually in case they lose pressure or parts deteriorate.

4. A locked cabinet. Kids should be kept away from poisonous materials (including medications) and a lock is the best way. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a special cabinet or safe. Simply go to your local hardware store and pick up a safety latch and combination lock to put on one of the cabinets already in your home. It might not be a bad idea to install one in your garage, as well, to keep children away from harmful products like paint and fluids for your automobile.

5. An emergency or disaster kit. Keep a kit with emergency items like a flashlight, am/fm radio, batteries, medical supplies, MREs and water. Teach your kids how and when to use these items. It should also include a list of contact numbers including first responders like police and fire, as well as poison control.

Keeping kids safe, even at home, can be a daunting task, but mostly it just takes common sense and a firm hand. Almost everything your kids need to be safe can be learned from you (and you surely remember your parents telling you such gems as, “Don’t touch that, it’s hot!” and, “If it smells bad, throw it away!”). Kids pick these lessons up pretty quick, so don’t resort to fencing off your kitchen. However, when it comes to necessary items that will keep kids safe and offer you a little piece of mind, remember that the simplest items are often the most useful, and they don’t have to break the bank.

Jennifer Kardish is a communications coordinator at Kitchen Cabinet Mart. You can check out their free design tips for your kitchen and home.

photo source: childsafteystore.com

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