Proofing Safe Home Tips

Childproofing your house can be difficult! The process is an ongoing one to ensure a baby, toddler, and child safety at home or to keep kids safe while visiting a friend or relative’s home.

Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, medical director of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, reminds adults to consider a child’s developmental stage when childproofing a home.

  • Infants are barely mobile, but even young babies can roll or otherwise move considerable distances.
  • Crawlers and early walkers can get into trouble anywhere.
  • Older toddlers can be extremely curious and resourceful about climbing, opening doors, and getting into places that may surprise adults.

A good approach to childproofing your home is to see each room through eyes of a child. Get down on the floor and look around. Ask yourself questions like, “What’s that? Can I put it in my mouth? What would happen if I crawl in there?”

A Childproofing Safety Check for the Whole House

Once you start childproofing, you’ll probably notice safety hazards throughout the house, from the laundry room to the linen closet. Be methodical during your childproofing “tour” of your home. Count the number of electrical outlets within a child’s reach, including those behind furniture. You’ll need a plastic electrical outlet safety cover for each one.

Next, pay special attention to choking hazards. Make sure that cords hanging from drapes or appliances are tied up and out of reach of curious hands. Babies and young children can also choke on balloons, jewelry, toys, coins, rubber bands, decorative rocks or marbles in potted plants, and hundreds of other things.

Sharp objects like knives, cooking utensils, and gardening implements should be kept out of sight and, ideally, out of a child’s reach or locked up. That goes for cleaning supplies too – kids shouldn’t be able to get to them. Poisoning is a common, but preventable occurrence. If you don’t actually use a particular chemical or cleaning agent in your house, don’t keep it; if you do need it, lock it up. Just in case, keep the number to the 24-hour nationwide poison-control center handy: 1-800-222-1222.

If you have guns in the house, keep them unloaded, out of sight, and locked away from children and teens of all ages.

Room-Specific Childproofing Safety Check

Make sure each room in your home is checked for its unique hazards:

  • In the bathroom. Keep all medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, out of sight, and use safety latches on medicine cabinets. Keep scissors, tweezers, and other sharp objects out of reach. To avoid burns, set the hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees. Never leave your child unattended in the tub, and place toilet lid locks to keep small children from playing in the toilet bowl and possibly drowning. Store buckets upside down to prevent any water accumulation; remember that small children can drown in just a few inches of water.
  • In the bedroom. A crib should be a safe haven for babies to sleep, so remove all toys, comforters, pillows, and other items that pose a risk of suffocation. As babies begin to sit up on their own, move mobiles out of their reach. Maintain smoke alarms in or near each bedroom and test them to make sure they actually work. If not, replace older devices with new smoke detectors.
  • In the kitchen. When cooking on the stove top, use rear burners, keep handles turned toward the back of the stove, and don’t leave the room when the stove is on.
  • In the basement and garage. Hang tools and ladders out of reach, and store any gasoline, lighter fluid, paints, pesticides, or other chemicals in a locked cabinet.
  • At windows. Windows are an often-overlooked aspect of home safety. Remember, screens are designed to keep insects out, not to keep kids in. Don’t place furniture under windows, which creates an invitation to climb and explore. If you do open your windows to let a breeze in, be sure the windows are out of children’s reach.

Tips for Kitchen Fires at Home

According to the most recent government statistics available, there are more than 150,000 kitchen fires in the United States yearly, with hundreds of people killed and thousands more injured. Cooking mishaps cause up to 90 percent of kitchen fires, and most of those are grease fires. Those frightening statistics lead up to one big question: Do you know what to do when a kitchen fire flares? Should you first reach for the fire extinguisher or for the phone to call the fire department?

Grease Fires in the Kitchen

Grease fires belong in a class by themselves and should not be handled like any other kitchen fire. Rule No. 1: Never pour water on a grease fire. The best way to handle a grease fire is to smother it, if possible, and let it die out. Follow these specifics:

  • Whenever you’re cooking, have an oven mitt, a potholder, and a lid that fits your pan all on hand and ready to grab in case fire sparks.
  • If grease catches on fire in your cooking pan, quickly put on the oven mitt, then place the lid over the pan to smother the fire. Try to slide the lid over the flames as opposed to dropping the lid down from above.
  • Turn off the burner and leave the pan exactly where it is so that it can cool.
  • Never move the pan, never carry it outside or put it in the sink, and don’t lift the lid until the pan has turned cool.

Oven, Microwave, and Electrical Fires

Fires can happen anywhere in the kitchen — near an electrical outlet, in the microwave, or in the stove. Here are some tips to help you know what to do in case of any of these kitchen fires:

  • Oven fires. Immediately close the oven door and turn it off. If the fire doesn’t go out right away, call the fire department. Have the oven inspected and repaired before you use it again.
  • Microwave fires. Close the microwave door and keep it closed. Turn the microwave off and unplug it if you can do so safely. Leave it closed and don’t use it again until you can have the appliance checked out by a technician.
  • Electrical fires. Prevent electrical fires by not overloading your electrical outlets with appliances. If a fire starts, use a fire extinguisher; never douse it with water. Always call the fire department for an electrical fire, even if you have already put it out with the fire extinguisher.

Using a Fire Extinguisher on Kitchen Fire

Every kitchen should be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Get one that’s labeled as safe to use on any kind of fire, and keep it within easy reach.

If a fire starts, you won’t have time to stop and read the directions. Become familiar with these tips to understand how to use a fire extinguisher on a small kitchen fire:

  • First, remove the pin from the fire extinguisher — it won’t work if you don’t.
  • Point the extinguisher toward the base of the fire, not the top of the flames.
  • Holding it by the handle, press down on the lever on the fire extinguisher; just let go when you want to stop.
  • Spray horizontally back and forth across the fire until it’s extinguished, remembering to aim low.

Finishing room tips

Once you have the shell of your room just the way you want it, it’s time to think about what finishing touches you’ll add. You have painted the walls, put up the window treatments, moved the furniture around, and cleaned up the mess. But why doesn’t the room look finished even though you think that the job of redecorating your room is done.

It just doesn’t look finished! What to do? Read on.

Once you have the shell of your room just the way you want it, you’re not done with the job.

There are lots of finishing touches that you can add to make the room look finished and welcoming. Some decorators feel that decorating a room or home should always be a work in progress.

Whether it takes a week, a month, or a whole lifetime, finding just the right finishing touches for a room is really the fun part of decorating.

  • Plants and Flowers
    It’s amazing what a quick transformation can be made with fresh plants and flowers. You don’t need to find something dramatic and expensive. A simple plant potted in a decorative pot set on a coffee table, bookshelf, on top of a cabinet, almost anywhere, adds life and color instantly. Be sure to keep fresh plants shiny and dusted. You might even want to have two plants for each location, one for display, one “on the mend.” If a plant gets scraggly or droopy, get rid of it! You might nurse it back to health, but not in your living space! If you just don’t have time to tend plants or if your room is dark, find some new artificial plants. These work great for out-of-reach spaces. But be sure to keep them dusted and perky, too. 
  • Expand on a Theme
    Everyone has a special interest. Traveling, sports, pets, flowers, children, and even a favorite book or movie can all provide focus for a room and offer ideas for adding finishing touches. By choosing a theme for your room, you’ll know what to zero in on and be able to select accessories, art, and colors to expand and enrich the theme.

How To Avoid Mistake Decorating Home

One of the things that makes decorating so much fun is the huge amount of resources that we can go to to learn more about how to make a beautiful room. We can read books andmagazines, watch TV shows, read online articles, and visitdecorating showhouses to find all sorts of wonderful advice onthings to do to get a beautifully decorated room.

But even with so much advice and inspiration on what to do, it can still be hard to learn what not to do or what mistakes you can avoid even before you even start a decorating project.

So to help fill in a few of those gaps, here is our list of the 20 easiest decorating mistakes to make and the best things not to do in order to get around them.

1. Don’t Let Someone Make Choices for You
Your home is your personal space. Don’t let someone else tell you what you should do. If you need help, ask for suggestions.

But when the time comes to make decisions, they should be yours. It’s your home and you should feel comfortable with the choices.

2. Don’t Paint First
You can buy paint in every color under the sun. In fact, you can have paint mixed in any imaginable color you might want. Choose fabric, carpet, and upholstery first.

3. Don’t Choose Paint From a Paint Chip
A small chip of a paint sample might look great in the fluorescent light in the paint store. But a whole wall of it might be overpowering. When you’ve decided on a color, purchase a quart of the color and paint a small section to see how the color looks in the room with natural light. If you don’t want to mess up the walls, paint a piece of cardboard and tape it on the walls in the room where you plan to use the color.

4. Don’t Decide on Colors in a Store
Never buy fabric, flooring, or paint on your first visit. Ask for samples of paint and carpet and swatches of fabric so you can see what they look like in your home. Check them out in natural light and in the evening with lamps.

5. Don’t Settle for Blah If You Love Bold
A gallon of red paint doesn’t cost any more than a gallon of white.

Fantastic Decorating Tips

Not everyone has the time to go to school to learn the basics of decorating. And depending on what you’d like to do as a decorator, not everyone has the need. But for those of us who have the eye, but not necessarily the know-how to design the interiors that we’d love to live in, there are numerous online resources that can give you more than enough information to get you on your way. With these great online sources, anyone can learn about the basics of decorating while finding wonderful inspiration for their first design project.

If  you have no clue about choosing furniture, selecting color, or what style of decorating you like, help is at your fingertips.

If you know just what you like but not how to bring the look to your home, you’ll find photos, tutorials, and helpful advice about decorating for just the right look.

Sitting at your computer, you’ll find loads of information without ever setting foot inside a classroom.

Whether you need ideas, color suggestions, or instructions on ways to do things, just get “web surfing.”

  • About.com’s site for Interior Decorating
    Of course, we think you’re already at the first stop. Here at About.com’s site for Interior Decorating we’ve tried to put together a lot of information to answer just about every question you might have. And we add more information all the time. But if you’re not finding what you need, check out some of these other sites.
  • About.com Style Guides
    Our own site has a section on Style Guides for Home Interiors. Learn what goes into making a comfortable Shabby Chic® bedroom or a French Country dining room. You’ll have fun deciding what style you like and learn how to bring the different elements into your rooms on any budget.
  • About.com site for Furniture
    One of the main elements of interior decorating is Furniture and Fred Albert has articles about arranging furniture, choosing good design, and finding great pieces on a budget, among many others.