When you’re passionate about safety for your pool and home, knowing how to child-proof your home is an important step. As safety professionals, we know protecting your family goes beyond safe child pool fences, door alarms, and latches. It extends throughout the home, securing your premises, mitigating hazards, and keeping your friends, family, and pets safer. As local swimming pool fence and safety net installers, we’re passionate about safety in our communities, and these are some of the top tips we offer our customers and use both in and around our own homes.
Promoting the Safety State of Mind
While child-proof safety tips are a good place to start, cultivating a safety-conscious mindset is important for better protection. Like every pool, every home and family situation is unique, presenting challenges that, while shared by some, may not be universal. Work to understand what your environment looks like from a child’s literal and metaphorical point of view so you can better predict hazards and take action to prevent them from causing accidents or injuries. What does this mean?
- Get On Their Level – Children don’t just see the world from a different intellectual stage, but physically from a different angle than most adults. When you childproof a home, get down low and look at the area from their height. What dangers can you see that you didn’t from way up there? A child pool fence may look incredibly tall, but from their point of view, you may see how a piece of furniture close enough to the fence offers them an easy step up to attempt climbing over.
- Understand Their Mindset – Children can be observant, curious, determined, stubborn, and creative. Understanding what motivates the children you’re protecting and how they’re likely to approach obstacles. As an example, kids love swimming, so will they accept that the pool is off-limits, or are they likely to work to find ways around your child pool fence, pool safety net, or alarm systems? Understanding both the what and why of their actions will help you better childproof your home and pool as well as communicate with the kids in question.
- Talk Frankly, Openly, And Honestly – Children’s young minds are primed for learning new habits, both good and bad. Talking to them now about home and water safety–both specifically around your house and as they visit the homes and pools of their friends and other family members–will go a long way toward making sure they understand how to make better decisions for themselves, whether you’re around or not.
Top Home Child Proofing Tips
Around the home, there are plenty of threats you need to protect your loved ones from. You’ve worked hard for a home that has a layout that suits your lifestyle, with furniture and decor that you’re proud of. When you childproof your home, you need to work with this design, understanding how it will affect your safety plans.
- Electricity Has The Power To Kill – Electrical hazards are some of the most dangerous around the home because appliances and accessories that rely on easy electrical access are so plentiful. To support the always-on, always-connected modern home, outlets are plentiful and often arranged around most rooms at heights that make it convenient to plug in your appliances while keeping cords down and out of the way. This also puts them at prime height for accidents involving children.
Start by making sure unused outlets are covered with commonly available outlet protectors. Devices that secure plugs in outlets can also be installed to further limit electrocution risks. Cords should be well-managed and out of foot-traffic paths or where they can be easily grabbed. Replace outdated outlets with grounded models that better protect users from shock, and make sure lights with sockets are where it is hard for kids to access them. Since electricity and water don’t mix, keep cords away from wet environments, like inside your child pool fence, and any outlets in kitchens and bathrooms should be GFCI-type outlets that have an integrated circuit breaker.
- Keep Your House Closed Up – One of the most important childproofing tips is to install devices that keep things that are supposed to be closed tightly secured. Doors, drawers, windows, and gates can all lead to tragedy if children open the wrong ones. Whether you’re keeping them away from sharp knives, household chemicals, or unsupervised access to the pool, latches, locks, and other child-resistant devices will help keep them out of areas they shouldn’t be in.
Cabinets and drawers should have latches installed that require greater strength or dexterity to disengage than many children possess. Window latches, door knob guards, and locks placed out of reach help keep kids from wandering outside alone in the front or back yard. Your child pool fence should be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching mechanism that prevents unsupervised access. You can also invest child proof straps that keep your fridge closed and toilet blocks that prevent toys from using the “indoor swimming pool.” You should also consider installing audible alarms in high-risk areas, such as around the pool area or the child’s bedroom window, that give a loud warning when they’ve been opened.
- Keep Heavy Objects Anchored – They may not be as strong as an adult, but their determination punches above their weight class. From climbing furniture to playing with grandpa’s favorite souvenirs from his travels, a small body can easily overbalance something heavy, leading to a fall, injury, or worse. Even if a heavy object, such as a falling bookshelf, doesn’t cause an injury directly, the objects on it can become projectiles that offer even more hazards as they fall, shatter, and scatter across the floor.
Tall furniture should be anchored to walls with straps that are secured to studs and prevent tipping. Glass and heavy knick-knacks or appliances should be pushed back from shelf or table edges, making them less likely to fall. Climbing on furniture should be discouraged, and dangerous objects should be put away or out of any possible reach of children. Finally, never leave children unattended in any place that has not been completely childproofed.
Backyard Child Safety Practices
Outside the home, you’ll need just as much diligence to protect the children in your care. Many of us remember playing happily in the backyard when we were younger, and those memories will be there for our children and grandchildren, as well. Your yard has plenty of potential hazards that can cause accidental injuries, however, preventing them will help make sure the memories they create are happy ones.
- Keep The Yard Clear – A clear yard is a safer yard. All lawn equipment and tools should be carefully stored away behind a locked door or in a secured utility cabinet. Trash should be picked up to keep it from being played with or blowing into your pool area. You’ll also want to make sure non-trash hazards, like firewood, yard decor, and furniture, are out of the way, secured when possible, and any items that can’t be secured the child has been warned away from for their own protection.
If you have any electrical accessories, automatic yard care devices, or timed equipment, you’ll want to make sure they are set in such a way as to not create a hazard for children playing in the yard. Sprinklers, lights, and robotic lawnmowers that are easily forgotten (after all, you bought them so you didn’t have to think about them) should be set in such a way to prevent their activation when they could create a dangerous situation.
- Protect Your Pool – Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under five. A lack of safety barriers is cited as a contributing factor in the majority of all accidental drownings, making it the perfect place to start child-proofing your backyard. A removable mesh child pool fence helps cordon off your pool area while still giving you the flexibility to remove it for summer pool parties. Safety nets are perfect for providing a second layer of protection that holds potential drowning victims up and out of the water until help can arrive.
In addition to securing your pool area from unsupervised access, you’ll want to make sure all furniture, accessories, and installations are in good repair. Ladders should be secured, broken tile or concrete fixed, and there should be no electric hazards in the pool area. Glass should also be kept out, as shattered glass is a cutting hazard that turns almost invisible when submerged in water. Rescue and emergency equipment, like first aid kits, flotation devices, and rescue hooks, should be available, well-marked, and ready for action when needed.
Are You Ready To Create A Safer Pool Area?
We’re ready to help you upgrade your backyard safety with a barrier designed to fit your needs and tailored to your pool. Your local installer lives in your community, so they’re always right down the street and personally invested in protecting the children and adults they work, shop, and live around. There’s no cost or obligation to get started. Request your free pool child-proofing quote from Lifeguard on Duty today.