Not everyone has children, but if you do or if you have younger family members frequently visit, you might be more inclined to notice child-friendly features when looking at homes.
Here are eight child-friendly improvements that will make your Scottsdale home safer for your own children and more attractive to buyers with children.
Cover electrical outlets. One of the cheapest and simplest things you can do is cover the electrical outlets. A package of 36 plastic outlet covers can be purchased at any home improvement store for under $5. To install, insert the plastic prongs into any outlet that is not being used. The outlet covers are not going to add any real value to your property, but having the inserts already in place may be a selling point to another family with small children or grandparents whose grandchildren visit often.
Install window guards or window stops. If you have a 2-story home, you might want to consider installing window guards. The metal bars fit over the window, attaching to the interior wall to prevent a young child from opening the window and falling out. These run anywhere from $20-$90 and more. Another, less obvious option would be to install window stops that wedge between the sliding glass and prevent the window from opening. No screws or nails are required, and the cost is minimal, at less than $10 per window.
Replace any looped cords on blinds or curtains. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, corded window coverings are among the top five hidden hazards in American homes. Check your home for window coverings with dangling strings. Depending on the type of window covering, there are several steps you can take to make them safer. The Window Covering Safety Council also offers free retrofit kits. Get yours here.
Cover sharp edges and corners. If your home has walls with sharp edges or corners, consider investing in corner cushions and edge guard strips that add padding to dangerous areas. Slip them on the corners of baseboard, window sills, fireplaces, square fire pits, and counters for starters. A package of four will cost under $10. A package that includes edge guard (also known as edge bumpers) and eight corner guards is usually $20.
Latch all lower cabinets and drawers. Kitchens are full of sharp objects like knives, hot surfaces, and other dangers. Start by securing all cabinets and drawers within reach. Latches come in a variety of styles (drawer latches, loops, magnetic, etc.) with prices ranging from $1 to more than $4 each. Some do require drilling into the cabinets.
Put a lock on your appliances. Dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves all pose a threat as well. Install locks on these permanent appliances to keep children safe as well as on appliances that are not built in, including front loading washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators.
Minimize bathroom risks. Bathrooms can be almost as dangerous as the kitchen, especially for children who love to play in water. Consider installing locks on toilet seats, and never leave standing water unattended in bathtubs or sinks. To avoid burns, set the hot-water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, it goes without saying that your bathroom cabinets and drawers should all have locks, and medicines and dangerous products should be stored out of reach.
Fence your pool and other dangerous areas. If you have children under the age of six living in the home, you are required by law to put up a pool fence, but when it comes to danger areas, don’t stop there. If your home doesn’t have a backyard fence, install one. Inside the home, you may consider installing either a temporary or permanent gate leading to potentially dangerous areas such as the basement steps or the laundry room.
For more ideas on how you can childproof your home and belongings, for your own peace of mind and that of potential buyers, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.