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Welcoming a child into your home is an exciting step, whether you are about to embark on the journey of parenthood, are a grandparent who wants to ensure a safe and child-ready home for your grandchildren or you have another reason to prep your home with child safety in mind, it can seem overwhelming at first. Thankfully, addressing a few key areas of your home will accomplish 90 percent of the job.

Zone One: Stairs
Stair railings are important for everyone’s safety, not just children’s. Ensure that hand  and balcony railings are sturdy. They should be able to hold up against a child hanging from them or a falling adult grabbing them for stability. Keep this in mind for indoor and outdoor steps or staircases. Remember that pressure-mounted gates are a hazard at the tops of stairwells. They will not keep a child safe from a tumble. Opt for a gate that requires hard installation and is made specifically for stair safety.

Zone Two: Windows
Install or verify that all your windows have secure locks to prevent an exploring young child from opening and tumbling out the window. A fall from the ground floor can cause harm, but precautions are most critical for any windows on multiple story homes, where a fall can lead to severe injury or even death.

Zone Three: Kitchens
The kitchen is full of interesting objects that children will want to explore, many of which can cause serious harm. Keep kitchen items like cleaning chemicals, knives, glassware, heavy pots and other dangerous hazards locked up or out of reach. Consider keeping baby-safe plastic dishes in one unlocked cupboard where small children can safely explore. Don’t neglect to install locks on your oven, fridge and cabinets and any cabinets containing hazards.

Zone Four: Bathrooms
Similarly to kitchens, keep cleaning chemicals and other hazards locked away in your bathrooms. Install locks on cabinet doors and the toilet seat. Keep bathroom doors closed when not in use and install door-knob covers.

Zone Five: Bedrooms and Living Areas
Heavy furniture poses a huge risk to small children. Even seemingly-stable furniture can topple when a toddler or small child attempts to climb it. Childproof by anchoring any tall or heavy furniture in your living spaces. Consider adding corner covers to any jagged furniture. Add door-knob covers, locks or alarms to any bedroom or living area doors that exit the home.

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