Moving to a new home can be an exciting undertaking, a fresh start that brings with it the potential for new friends, opportunities and experiences.
For parents of young children, though, the process of adapting to a new home can be stressful. While you may have been proactive about averting safety hazards in your old house, a move to a new one calls for renewed awareness of anything that could potentially harm your kids. Unfortunately, the National Safety Council advises that more than a third of child injuries and deaths happen at home, with household injuries the No. 1 reason children younger than 3 visit emergency rooms.
Fortunately, conscientious parents can do much to avoid such injuries. Consider these tips for keeping your children safe through the moving process and beyond.
- Be proactive about precautions. Don’t wait until all your belongings are moved in and you’re adding the finishing touches. Instead, evaluate potential safety hazards before the move even begins, buying important tools and fixtures so you can make adjustments early rather than retrofitting. Then, once everything is in place, reevaluate results one more time. “The first step to a safe home … is to look at the world through your baby’s eyes,” writes Laura McHolm in the Huffington Post. “See what looks interesting and what can be reached. And I mean it literally — get down on your hands and knees in your new home and check for small things your baby can choke on.”
- Switch all your blinds to the cordless variety. Kids and cords don’t mix, and the string-like attachments that adjust old style blinds and other window coverings are strangulation hazards. If the windows of your new home have corded window coverings, replace them immediately with the cordless varieties available at major U.S. retailers. Look for the Best for Kids(TM) label that certifies window coverings that are best suited for young children.
- Separate and secure household chemicals. The moving process can be chaotic, and it’s all too easy to lose track of where movers are placing potentially harmful substances such as cleaning products, medicines, vitamins, alcohol, pet food, paint, gasoline and poisonous plants. That’s why you should deliberately pack anything that could hurt your kids into marked boxes that travel with you in your car, separate from the belongings handled by your movers. Upon arrival, keep those boxes apart and sealed until you’re ready to unpack them into locked cabinets.
- Secure furniture and TVs against tipovers. As your furniture and heavy electronics are arranged, install safety latches to ensure they can’t inadvertently fall onto young children. Installation will be faster and easier if you label the latches ahead of time.
- Update locks inside and out. When shopping for locks and deadbolts for your new home, seek the BHMA Certified Secure Home(TM) label that ensures your new products have been tested in all the areas of most importance to you and your family: security, durability and finish.
- Install baby gates at staircases. Don’t wait; do this as soon as you arrive on moving day. Children will be curious about their new surroundings, but at the same time unfamiliar with potential hazards. A move to your new home should be a happy time. Make sure you’re keeping it that way by fully protecting your children as you make the transition.