Making your home safe for a newborn or toddler is vital and it can be daunting to know what changes you are and are not allowed to make to your rental property.
Here are some ways you can child proof your rental property without compromising your lease agreement:
1. Fix furniture
If you decide you want to fix any furniture to the walls, make sure you still seek approval from your landlord or property manager who will guide you through the correct process. Remember that you will have to repair any surfaces at the termination of your lease.
For more information, visit Consumer Product Safety Commission
2. Asses the property
You should review your tenancy agreement or ask your property manager to determine what alterations you are allowed to do, to ensure you get your bond back and don’t damage the property.
Then you can begin to assess the property and create a list of all potential hazards. Figure out the hotspots which need attention and do a thorough risk assessment.
3. Get down
Put yourself in the shoes of a toddler. Get down on all fours and see what it’s like from their perspective.
It might feel ridiculous, but it is the only way of really knowing what could be a dangerous risk to them. You’d be surprised at the hidden hazards that can only be seen from the view point of a child.
4. Put in child safety gates
Sometimes, it’s unmanageable to always have your eye on your child. After all they are curious and are likely to go exploring. To prevent them from being in places where they shouldn’t, especially with stairs, putting in a child safety gate to block certain areas is a good way to minimize this risk.
Child safety gates are also good for setting up a safe playing area with your baby or toddler. If you are worried about damaging the walls, there are a range of products you can add to each side of the gate to protect them.
Always check with your property manager if you are attaching anything to the wall.
5. Cover pointy edges and cupboards
Secure and lock all cupboards and draws. It is important that you don’t just shut the cupboard but to also lock them if it’s within the child’s reach.
Any sharp edges or corners also need to be covered with soft padding to prevent head injuries.
6. Check windows
Often, windows are forgotten about during the child proofing process and can be the reason for many tragic falls and accidents. Ensure you add in safety devices and/or bars to easily accessible windows.
Get the approval from your landlord or property manager before you install anything.
7. Don’t ignore blinds and curtains
At least 18 deaths of children from strangulation by blind and curtain cords (and chains) have occurred in Australia since the early 1990s. Make sure you secure any curtain or blind cords using the safety devices supplied with them or tie them up so they do not dangle down for a child to reach.
8. Hide chords and electricity sockets
Don’t leave electric cables and chords lying around in the open. Tuck them away and make sure they can’t be reached if your toddler is crawling around on the floor.
Look for child safety power outlet plugs that be used for all of your unused electricity sockets.
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