Child-Proofing Your Home: A Guide for Family Visits in the Berkshires

Child-Proofing Your Home: A Guide for Family Visits in the Berkshires

Child-Proofing Your Home: A Guide for Family Visits in the Berkshires

As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers there’s nothing more exciting than having your youngsters over for a visit, especially in the scenic tranquility of your Berkshires home. However, young explorers can find trouble in the most unexpected places, and it’s a good idea to ensure their environment is as safe as possible. It may have been awhile since you've needed to worry about it so this helpful guide is here to help ensure peace of mind so you can concentrate on making precious memories.

Start with a Risk Assessment

Before the little ones arrive, conduct a thorough walk-through of your home. Look at each room through the eyes of a child; get down to their level if needed. Consider sharp corners, electrical outlets, small objects, and any other potential hazards. Create a checklist of areas that need attention and tackle them one by one.


Common Hazards and Solutions:

Sharp Edges: Use corner guards on furniture edges, especially on coffee tables and end tables that are toddler height.
Electrical Outlets: Insert outlet covers on all unused electrical outlets. Curious fingers and metal objects can cause electric shock when inserted into outlets.
Small Objects: Keep small objects out of reach. Choking is a serious risk for children under three, who tend to explore with their mouths.
Stairs: Install safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases. Make sure they’re mounted correctly and show no signs of wear and tear.
Windows: Use window guards or locks to prevent windows from opening more than four inches. Never place furniture near windows that children can climb on.

The Bathroom: A Slippery Place

The bathroom is full of potential hazards for children. Hot water, slippery surfaces, and medications can pose serious threats to an unsupervised child.

Bathroom Safety Measures:

Toilet Locks: Prevent accidental drowning by installing toilet locks. These keep the lid securely closed.
Anti-Scald Devices: Regulate your hot water heater to ensure that bathwater doesn’t scald. Anti-scald devices for faucets are also available.
Non-Slip Mats: Place non-slip mats in the bathtub and on the floor to reduce the risk of falls.
Medication and Cleaning Supplies: Store these items in high cabinets with childproof locks.

The Kitchen: Where Curiosity is Cooked

A kitchen is a wonderland for children but comes with its own set of risks such as knives, heavy pots, and hot stoves.

Kitchen Precautions:

Cabinet Locks: Install locks on all low-level cabinets and drawers, especially those containing hazardous materials or sharp objects.
Stove Knob Covers: These prevent little hands from turning on the burners.
Appliance Latches: Secure refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers with safety latches.
Keep Countertops Clear: Move cords, matches, knives, and breakables to higher ground where kids can’t reach them.

Secure the Sleeping Areas

Ensure that the rooms where the children will sleep are safe havens.

Steps for Sleeping Safety:

Check the Crib: If using an heirloom crib, make sure it meets current safety standards. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and the mattress should fit snugly.
Window Blinds: Check for looped cords that can strangle a child. Cordless blinds are a safer option.
Night Lights: Install night lights to prevent trips and falls during nighttime awakenings.

Living Room Leisure Safety

While inside, your living room is likely where you’ll spend a lot of time playing and relaxing.

Living Room Tips:

Secure Televisions and Furniture: Anchor heavy furniture and TVs to the wall to prevent tipping.
Toy Chests Without Lids: Choose toy chests without lids or with supports that keep the lid open to avoid trapped fingers or suffocation.
Houseplants: Some houseplants can be toxic. Keep them out of reach or opt for artificial plants while children visit.

Outdoor Spaces: Fun in the Fresh Air

The outdoors offers a wonderful place for children to play and explore, but it's important to ensure it’s just as safe as inside.

Outdoor Safety Strategies:

Fencing: If you have a pool, it’s essential to have a fence around it with self-latching gates. In addition, consider getting a floating pool alarm.
Play Equipment: Regularly check outdoor play equipment for loose parts or rust. Check the aging rope on your beloved tire swing, and if the playscape is from your own children's era, inspect it for current safety standards.
Garden Tools and Chemicals: Store tools and garden chemicals out of children’s reach.
Ticks and Bugs: In the Berkshires, ticks can be a concern. Check children frequently for ticks after they’ve played outside. Consider calling one of the local pest control companies to treat your yard with eco-friendly spray in advance of the little ones visiting.

Emergency Preparedness

It’s crucial to be prepared in case of emergencies.

Preparation Checklist:

Emergency Contacts: Have a list of emergency contact numbers easily accessible.
Allergies & Medications: Create a list of any allergies the kids may have, and medications they are taking and know how & when to administer them.
First Aid Kit: Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand and know basic first aid procedures.
Safety Plans: Have an escape plan in case of fire and practice it with your grandchildren. It's also a good idea to have a plan for pool emergencies like knowing what the signs of drowning and secondary drowning look like - have a response plan.

Communication with Parents

Always communicate with the parents about your child-proofing measures and ask if there's anything specific they do at home that you should know about.
With careful preparation and thoughtful precaution, your home can be a safe and inviting place for visiting children. Keeping them safe doesn't mean limiting their fun – it means enhancing the joy of discovery by ensuring their adventures don't come with bruises or worse. Enjoy the laughter and curiosity as you create lasting bonds and cherished memories with your friends and family in the beautiful Berkshires!
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Selina Lamb is a study in contrasts — analytical yet creative, fun yet serious-minded, easygoing yet a fierce marketer and negotiator. She synthesizes years of experience in Berkshires' real estate; a liberal arts education from Williams College; a successful career at top U.S. fashion houses; and experience founding a nationally recognized landscape design firm into a real estate consultancy that centers around client well-being. Repeats and referrals comprise 98% of her business, and review after review mentions her market knowledge, vast network, warm sense of humor, and presence in her clients’ lives long after the deal has closed.
As a real estate partner, Selina aims to make people feel at home during each moment of the transaction, whether they’re seeking residential, commercial, or land development opportunities. A longtime Berkshires resident, she works tirelessly to plug her buyers into the community, ensuring they have every professional and resource they need to create fulfilling lives here. In addition, she leverages her expansive global network and marketing expertise to get her sellers’ properties maximum views, visits, and offers. Her future-forward service features tech, design, analysis, and humanity in equal measure — making it highly personalized and undeniably modern.
Selina’s unique approach comes from the circuitous path that brought her to real estate and back to the Berkshires. After graduating from Williams, Selina held executive roles for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, J. Crew, and Polo Ralph Lauren. During that time, she would escape to her Berkshire house on weekends to find delight in her garden, which inspired her to earn a graduate degree in site planning and landscape design. She eventually let go of her New York City address permanently and founded her acclaimed landscape design firm, which has been featured by Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and HGTV.
Selina’s design experience makes her an expert in envisioning clear and practicable solutions for presenting properties to their very best advantage, from staging to photography and beyond. For buyers and sellers, her wide breadth of knowledge of local regulations and permitting processes make her an invaluable resource.
Beyond real estate, Selina serves on the Williams College Parents Fund Committee and co-chaired the Emma Willard School Parents Fund Committee. In addition to gardening, she enjoys painting, skiing, and playing tennis.

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