Friday, February 20, 2015

Safe & Secure - Tips for Keeping Young Kids Safe in the Home

When Boo was wee I worried about a lot of things. Partly that was part of being a new mom. Partly that was part of just the way I am. I worry.

When he was wee, I worried if he was getting enough milk. Worried if he was getting enough sleep. If he was safe in our bed. And I worried about losing him. Losing him to SIDS (I checked his breathing obsessively). Losing him in a crowded public place (he was a runner, he wore a harness). And I seriously worried about him wandering out of the house without us knowing. (For the record, I still worry, just about different things now.)

It happens far too often that toddlers and preschoolers decide to go for a stroll on their own. Maybe they want to go visit a friend, or check on the dog next door, or just to be outside. Little kids are curious, and many of them have no fear. Whether it's leaving the house in the middle of the night or wandering off at the mall, it can happen in an instant, and the results can be truly tragic, as we learned here in Toronto yesterday.

I just want to share with you a few things we did or contemplated doing, to ease my mind and keep Boo safely inside our house when he was younger.

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Choosing Door Hardware. We had to replace our front door during my pregnancy, due to a break-in. (Whole other story!) When the contractor presented us with our options, I chose a regular, round doorknob, instead of a lever. I figured the lever would be way too easy for a toddler to pull down and open the door. Plus, I knew I could get door knob covers for the round knob.

Door Knob Safety Covers.  These covers require a larger hand and the strength to press in on the sides to grip the knob underneath. A small child will just spin the cover around without being able to turn the actual handle. We placed one of these on the inside handles of each of our exterior doors. It's not entirely kid-proof, as a truly determined pre-schooler might be able to operate it using two hands, but it's a definite deterrent. You can get Lever Handle Locks now as well.

Home Alarm. After the break-in we realised we needed a home alarm system. (Better late than never?) With the alarm armed each night, he would set it off if he managed to open one of the exterior doors. But even with the alarm off, we had it set up with a chime. Any time a door opens, the chime sounds throughout the house. You can also buy standalone door chimes that are easy to install (some just with tape) and will alert you when your door is opened.  Here's one example, available at Home Depot - the Ideal Security Entry Alarm with Chime.

We considered, but didn't follow through with, installing a deadbolt or a chain lock high up, beyond a child's reach. He still might bring over a chair to try to unlock it, but it adds some security. There are other options out there now as well, such as the Door Guardian, a special extra latch for securing inward opening doors.
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There are many options out there that can make our homes more secure, and help to minimise the possibility of young children wandering out on their own. But I'd hesitate to say anything is a 100% solution. These are just some of the ideas we have tried here. I hope some of these ideas can help other families as they look for safety options.

1 comment:

  1. In light of recent events of children √ęscaping", we cannot emphasize this enough. You can never be too safe or over cautious.
    (Debbie W)


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