Simple changes, from the arrangement of items in a room to choices in home wares, can make a big difference in a home’s safety, ease of care, and even parental sanity! The following tips can help you create a home that’s safe for small children — yet still welcoming to grown-ups.
Have babies or toddlers? Print our Safety Checklist for Creating a Family Friendly Home to help ensure that common safety hazards are addressed… and find more childproofing solutions on our DIY Childproofing Safety Checklist and Baby Safety Gate Checklist.
Seven Top Tips for Creating Family- & Child-Friendly Homes
1. Create Child-Friendly Zones: Make an effort to create childproofed safe zones in the areas most used by small children; family areas, kitchen, bathrooms and bedroom (don’t forget the halls!) Limit children’s access to other areas, such as utility rooms, garages and pool areas. Child safety should be addressed throughout the home, but strictly limiting access to areas with excessive hazards is often most effective in keeping children safe.
2. Choose Furniture Wisely: When buying new furnishings, consider the care requirements of the style and finish. For upholstered items, finished leather is quite durable, and many new fabrics offer more durability and stain resistance than ever before. In furniture, glass top tables and glass doors are never a great choice in homes with kids, neither are highly polished woods – unless you enjoy dusting fingerprints throughout the day.
3. Add Pop with Pillows: When baby starts pulling up, you’ll find that some favorite décor items can no longer take center stage. If your room feels bare, add punch with great-looking throw pillows. One of the easiest, quickest and least expensive decorating solutions, pillows create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere than can pull the elements of a room together – safely!
4. Hit a Decorating Wall? Use it! Pull out the stud finder and learn to use wall anchors… wall mounted shelves, sconces, ledges and lamps offer an array of safer, out-of-reach decorating solutions in homes with small children.
5. The Drape Escape: Window coverings pose notable safety hazards, but happily most blind cord hazards are easily managed with winders and anchors. If long window treatments are a fixture in your home, the best child safety remedy is to ensure that the hanging bars and hardware systems are securely installed into the wooden studs surrounding the window or door. See our Post: The Drape Escape for more on window decor safety.
6. Storage Strategies: Storage needs multiply rapidly when children arrive. Decorative baskets and boxes can be very helpful in storing hideaway items. Stack these on top of entertainment centers, armoires or high shelves — away from little hands. More durable storage boxes can become stylish and accessible “toy boxes” when filled and placed under the coffee table, on the hearth, in a corner, or under a side table – just make sure lids aren’t heavy!
7. Kitchen Safety and Style – Go Plastic! Today’s easy-care plastics let parents create a table equally inviting to all family members and guests, even ones with less-than-grownup dexterity. Durable plastic tableware – from tumblers and plates to wine stems and serving bowls – instantly kid-proofs the table in shatterproof style. Many of the better, restaurant-quality plastics are great in the dishwasher and some can even be microwaved.