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Childproofing Your Home

10 tips to make your home child-proof

By Berry Everitt

Accidents in the home are a major cause of unplanned hospital or clinic visits, and homeowners with young children need to take special care to guard against mishap. Here are the top 10 actions that safety experts recommend they take to "child-proof" a home:
* Power points. Ensure that all unused plugs have plastic safety guards inserted to keep out little fingers.
* Blind cords. These should be wound round a fixture relatively high on the wall, as trailing loops can choke and even hang a small child.
* Bookcases. Make sure these are firmly fixed to the wall with brackets so that they cannot fall over when used as standing aids or "stairs".
* Stairs. Safety gates should be installed at the top and bottom of staircases - and kept properly closed at all times.
* Decks and balconies. Railings should be close enough together to ensure that a child cannot squeeze through them. If they are not, plastic mesh at least 1m high should be firmly fixed to the vertical railings and the floor.
* Medicines and chemical cleaners. They should be stored in closed, preferably locked cupboards, well out of reach of any climbable furniture.
* Stove. Ensure pot and pan handles do not project over the edge of the stove and do not leave a climbable chair or stool near the stove.
* Bath and shower. Place a non-slip mat or adhesive strips on the bottom of the bath and floor of the shower cubicle.
* Glass doors. Place stickers or decorative decals on the glass to ensure that the door is clearly visible when closed.
* Garage. The best strategy is to keep all children out of the garage, but, just in case, keep the cars locked, store dangerous pesticides and herbicides in a locked cupboard and ensure that the automated door switch and remote controls are placed out of reach.

About the Author

Berry Everitt is the Managing Director of Chas Everitt Real Estate, property specialists throughout South Africa.

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