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Up until about a week or so ago, I thought our home was relatively safe for our children. We have gates on the stairs and in my son’s room, cabinet locks, and outlet covers. Many of our kitchen appliances have built-in safety features (i.e. an oven and dishwasher lock) and most of our furniture is secured to the wall. However, after a visit from Child Safety Expert and Professional Childproofer Kimberlee Mitchell, I learned that there is much more we can do to keep both of our children safe.
The number one cause of death for children, ages 1-4, is unintentional injury. I hope you’re as shocked as I was upon reading this statistic. I think that I am pretty good about watching my children, but with two, I can’t be everywhere, all the time. I want to emphasize that nothing takes the place of supervision. However, there are many things I, as a parent, can do to make sure that the places where my children play are safe.
Safety 1st, a leading childproofing product manufacturer, teamed up with California-based Boo Boo Busters last year to create a premier professional childproofing service called The Safety 1st Squad. This team of professional home childproofers assists in making your home a safer place for your children. A member of the team comes to your home to analyze potential hazards (obvious and hidden), recommend, sell, and install specific child safety devices for each hazard. The Safety 1st Squad will also educate parents on how to expect the unexpected and make behavioral changes to keep children safe.
A little over a week ago, Kimberlee Mitchell came to our home to analyze potential hazards in our home. After a brief introduction and a briefing on what to expect, Kimberlee went through our house, room by room, identifying hazards I never thought about. She was thorough and went so far as to anticipate potential hazards that both my son could face as he gets a bit older, and those that our daughter could face once she starts becoming mobile. Kimberlee spent time educating my husband and I and recommended both traditional and professional products that would work to keep our children safe.
As a mom to a toddler, I’ve had my share of “mishaps,” none of which have resulted in anything but a minor trip to the doctor. However, Kimberlee pointed out some hazards that I definitely want to be sure to address. Specifically, we have a ledge upstairs that could be very dangerous (I talk more about it on the video, about half-way through). Kimberlee’s analysis was thorough and she educated us along the way. This is something I wish I had done when I was pregnant (or at the very least before we moved into the house), so I didn’t have to worry about doing it with a toddler running around. Here is a video I made of Kimberlee and I going through the house, to give you an idea of what you can expect from a Safety 1st Squad consultation:
The Safety 1st Squad offers two levels of products (traditional and professional) for families in all income brackets. Services include Consultation & Installation, Consultation and Product for parents to install and a Petproofing service. Personally, I don’t know that I want to install some of the more difficult safety products. However, doing so is a cost-effective way to childproof and definitely something to consider if you think that your budget doesn’t allow for professional installation.
I walked away with a profound amount of education. Here are four general childproofing tips Kimberlee shared with me:
1. Get Ahead of the Curve: Childproof During Pregnancy
Most babies start to crawl at 6 months. As a parent, it’s my job to be one step ahead to ensure my children have a safe environment to explore and play. While I did not childproof during pregnancy, I would highly recommend it. It’s one less thing to worry about.
2. A Powerful One-Two Combo: Childproofing and Discipline
As a parent, it’s important to teach children what is safe and dangerous. Childproofing and discipline should overlap.
3. Lengthen the Life of Your Childproofing
We have a gate we use on my son’s door when he’s asleep so that he doesn’t wander around the house, should he wake up before we do. A few weeks ago, I heard a thud about half past dark. I ran to my son’s room. He had climbed over the gate and was sitting there looking up at me. Kimberlee suggests that you operate all child safety devices with your back to your child to lengthen the life of your childproofing. I have no idea how my son learned to crawl over that gate, but no longer can we count on that gate to keep him in his room. One other point I should mention…safety devices are designed to slow children down. Babies and toddlers can figure out how to open levered door handles and climb over gates.
4. Have Off Limit Rooms
We have two Off Limit Rooms in our home…the garage and the spare bedroom (although the bathrooms are off limits most of the time). These rooms should be secured with door locks and be off limits. Other rooms that you could be considered Off Limits include the laundry room, loft, terrace, an older sibling’s room, office, gym, utility room, craft room, and rooms under construction.
Even if you’ve childproofed your home, I recommend having an expert come in. As I mentioned above, we thought we had the house completely safe. It was the knowledge about the hidden dangers that I truly appreciated. For more information about the Safety 1st Squad or tips on childproofing your home, just visit their site.
Win It! One of you will win $100 worth of safety products, courtesy of Safety 1st. Simply visit the website. Then come back and leave me a comment with something you learned on the site (there is a ton of information!). Comments will close on April 5, 2010 at 11:59 PM PST. One comment per person, please (unless you do the extra credit). US residents only. Duplicates and comments not including the above information will be disqualified. Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment in a reasonable amount of time, send me an email. Bloggers and non-bloggers may enter. If you don’t want to leave your email address, please be sure to check back for my announcement on the winner. Please note that winners must respond within 48 hours of being announced/contacted or another winner will be drawn.
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I did not receive compensation for this post. I received a childproofing consultation to facilitate this experience.