When we think of the perfect family home, we think of something that is safe, spacious and comfortable. When our kids are young there’s a lot to take into consideration, and household objects and features that we wouldn’t have thought twice about in the past now pose a potential safety risk.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can keep your home safe for your kids while maintaining its practicality and livability. Here are some of the essentials every family should have in their home:
1. Safe flooring and synthetic grass
Falls are the most common cause of injuries for every age group, children included. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure that the flooring in your home is safe and will prevent any avoidable injuries.
Carpet is great as it’s soft and can protect little ones from scrapes and bruises, although you’ll have to regularly clean it to avoid a build-up of dust and stains and it doesn’t respond well to spills. If your home has floorboards in its living areas and bedrooms, consider using rugs for added protection.
However, safe flooring doesn’t end inside the home. Installing synthetic grass is an increasingly popular way to keep your kids safe while they play outside. Not only is it non-toxic, allergen-free and child friendly, but it also reduces the risk of slipping and the associated injuries.
Artificial grass also doesn’t require pesticides, fertilisers, weed killer and other chemicals to keep it looking luscious and healthy. This means your kids can play on the artificial turf without the worry of them ingesting anything toxic and potentially dangerous.
2. Safety switches and powerpoint covers
Safety switches are devices that quickly cut off the electrical supply if a fault is detected. Their purpose is to protect death or serious injury from electric shocks. Although all homes must now be built with safety switches, some older homes may not have them. Double-check that you have one and if not get a professional to install one immediately.
You should also use powerpoint covers throughout your house, as many children will be tempted to stick their fingers or toys in there. Powerpoint covers are hard to remove and will help to prevent your child from being exposed to a live electrical current.
3. Window guards and safety gates
Falls from windows are more likely than you may think, with an average of over 5,000 children being admitted to the hospital due to falling from a window every year between 1990 and 2008 in the US. Although modern homes are mainly built with safer windows that can only open so far, older homes pose a bigger risk.
The most efficient way to prevent falls from windows is by installing window guards. Although they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing of solutions, they enable you to open your windows as much as you please while always maintaining your child’s safety.
Safety gates are also something you should consider when childproofing your home. Most homes either have stairs or some kind of a balcony, and any parent will want to make sure their child isn’t able to access these areas without supervision. They provide a sturdy barrier at the top and bottom of your stairs or entrance to your balcony and help prevent nasty falls.
It’s worth noting that there are no Australian Standards for safety gates, so do your due diligence and make sure it has all the safety features you need and check out the reviews online.
4. Safety glass
Glass can pose a serious risk to children, and since 1989 Australian law has required safety glass to be fitted in areas of the home that are prone to accidents. When broken, safety glass will not shatter into sharp, dangerous shards that can cause serious injuries. The areas they’re required in include:
- All glass doors
- When in close proximity to stairs
- Areas that can be mistaken for openings, such as floor to ceiling windows
If your home was built before 1989, it may not be up to the current standards. Do your research and get safety glass installed immediately if it isn’t already.
5. Large living room and backyard
A spacious backyard and living room is one of the first things you should look for in a family home. It allows room for your kids to play in and explore, with plenty of room for games, entertaining family and friends and the ability to add in new home features like a patio or swing set.
Giving your kids plenty of room to play in will not only help them burn off their never-ending energy, but it’s an essential part of developing self-confidence and maintaining their physical health.
6. Storage space
The more your family grows, the more storage space you’re going to need. Toys, clothes and other household necessities can build up quickly, and if you plan on having more kids down the track you’ll want to hold onto lots of items that you wouldn’t otherwise need anymore.
Keeping your items in their specified storage space with labels and tags if necessary will help make all of this less of a headache. Just make sure you’re using all the space you have and making an effort to stay on top of it all.
7. Multiple bathrooms
If you plan on staying in your home for a while, multiple bathrooms can be a lifesaver. While you may be able to go without them while your kids are young, once they grow up they’ll become an absolute necessity.
The last thing you want to do is have your entire household waiting to use the one bathroom in the morning, and in this scenario storage space can easily become an issue too. A home with a master ensuite and as well as a shared bathroom for the kids is ideal, and it’s a great bonus if you can find one with a third bathroom for guests too.
There are many things that a family home needs to be a safe, comfortable and practical living space for you and your family. Although it can be overwhelming, having these essentials will ensure your house feels like a home for years to come.