As an impressionable third grader, I developed an acute fear of fire after a less than sensitive conversation with the visiting firemen.
Fireman: “And how would you tell the firemen how to get to your house?”
3rd grade Me: “Well, you would turn down X road, and our house is the one with a lot of shrubs.”
Fireman: “That isn’t a good enough description. We might not be able to find your house and your family could burn up in your house.”
Okay, I admit, that probably isn’t exactly what he said, but that is what I remember. And ever since then, I have been very concerned about home safety.
With lots of time to think about the future while lounging on the couch, heavily pregnant with twins, I began making lists…oh, did I make lists! And one of the lists I made, was in regard to home safety. Here are some steps we took to prepare our home for a family.
1. Bought and instaledl a smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector on EVERY floor. A local fire chief told me that the best kind to buy are the ones that plug in to an outlet…you never have to worry about batteries.
2. Have a fully charged fire extinguisher on each floor. I have one near the kitchen, and outside of the kids rooms. They do loose their potency, so check them every few months.
3. Swivel Outlet Covers: When preparing the kid’s room, my husband had the foresight to install swivel outlet covers. The way these work is simple…if the item plugged in is removed from the outlet, the outlet holes are immediately covered. Absolutely nothing can be shoved into the holes. We have the regular plastic covers in the rest of the house, but I feel better knowing that I can leave the kids in their room while I dry my hair, with one less hazard to worry about.
4. I highly recommend furniture tethers. They are inexpensive, but very useful. My kiddos love to practice standing using their dresser handles, and mob me when I am putting away their clothes. They love to take the clean and folded clothes out of their drawers. Knowing that the dresser is secured to the wall allows them to play without Mama having to redirect them constantly.
5. Gates at the top of the stairs are a good idea! Yep, one of our kiddo’s recently took a header, and we learned the hard way, that we should have a gate at the top of the stairs, even if we have a gate in the nursery.
And althought this doesn’t fit under the heading of “safety,” I highly recommend purchasing a small fire-proof lock box. Unless you have a safety deposit box, you will want someplace safe to store the birth certificates and social security cards of your new babies when they arrive in the mail.
It is never too late to take steps toward home safety. Stores like Lowes, Home Depot and Babies ‘R Us carry a variety of babyproofing items (cabinet locks, toilet locks, etc) that you may want to consider purchasing. Obviously, as parents we can’t protect our kids from all pain or accidents, but we can take some practical steps toward making our homes a safer environment. Now, if only I knew how to keep them from going in two different directions outside of the house!