Most every couple dreams of owning their own home-a home they can raise their family in. But when you are planning that perfect dream house, there are several features you might overlook-things you haven’t thought about when it comes to making things as safe and secure for your little ones as possible.
If you’re commencing the building process, here are some things to consider and discuss with your builder to ensure that your home is both functional and safe for children.
Stairs. Contemporary staircases that are floating, or finished in stone or polished concrete or lacking in railings may look fabulous in that loft or townhouse you’re building but when it comes to toddlers, they’re a mother’s worst nightmare. Consider limiting stairs altogether or ensuring that can be easily blocked at top both the top and bottom level to prevent falls and have non slip finishes and sturdy railings when your children are able to start negotiating the stairs on their own.
Finishes. Consider paints and varnishes that are made from natural ingredients and contain no toxins.
Flooring. Carpet is soft, yes, but impossible to keep clean and free of allergens. Choose flooring that is durable, skid resistant and made from natural materials. Timber and cork flooring, ceramic tiles that are skid-resistant and area rugs that can either be machine washed or are made from natural products. NOTE: Area rugs need to have skid-proof backing.
Cabinets, countertops and doors. The edges of countertops, etc, should be rounded, as your little one gets a little bigger the counter top will be just at the height where a serious injury can occur if they hit a sharp angled corner.
Glass. Invest in shatter-proof or shatter-resistant glass for doors and windows. It’s worth the extra cost. Ensure glass doors are clearly marked if lacking in window dividers, this makes sure they can’t be missed when closed and sparkling clean!
Locks. Locks on doors and windows need to be child-proof (but workable by you). This is also a good idea for some of your cabinets, as well.
Water temperature. Have your builder put a limiter on the hot water heater to eliminate the chance of your children being scalded by water that is too hot.
Enclosures. All yard, pool and play areas need secure fencing to keep children in or out of areas they are not supposed to be in.
Electrical outlets. These need to be covered with safety caps and when possible ‘hidden’ by furniture or installed out of reach. Out of sight…out of mind.
Most importantly discuss your future plans with your builder to help them design a home for you that is going to meet the needs of your family as it grows.