An apartment is an excellent way to immerse your child into a sense of belonging and community. That doesn’t mean apartments a care-free, though. If you have a child or even if you are a babysitter or nanny working out of your apartment, it is paramount your apartment is child-proof. Part of life is getting up from the hits, but some hits are more harmful than others, and anything you can do to prevent them should be done. Learn how you can reduce electrical, chemical, and other dangers apartment living exposes to children.
The maintenance department is busy working around the clock to keep the apartment building in solid standings, but they can’t fix everything instantaneously. This means some dangers will be left with a sign saying, “do not touch, under maintenance” or “electrical danger, keep away.” It is mandatory children understand they must obey the precautionary measures set in place by maintenance. While the dangers throughout the apartment building may be out of your control to fix right away, there are plenty of ways to make your apartment unit safe. First and foremost, make sure all your electrical outlets and light switches have the correct covers to prevent shocks. Likewise, it is essential all your power cords and electrical cables aren’t damaged. Any cracked cords and frayed cables are hazards waiting to happen, is possible, repair them with electrical tape promptly. Otherwise, these cords should be removed from the apartment and placed in the communal dumpster. Pull your child or the child you’re supervising aside to explicitly inform them never to touch exposed electrical outlets or damaged cords.
Windows, Doors, and Balconies
Part of growing up is learning to crawl, walk, and run. Children are curious and love to use their new abilities to see everything around them. While this is a part of life, a curious child will unknowingly open a door to the hallway or a window outside. If you live on a floor above ground level, you need to make sure children can’t endanger themselves. Window screens are easy to push out of place and an open window is a potential hazard. Make use of a window gate or bars to keep kids from falling out the windows. Balconies are also a threat to young children, as they like to climb around and could lose their grip and fall. The best way to keep kids from stepping out on the balcony unsupervised is to jam a piece of wood behind the door so it can’t slide open. If your balcony has a French door, consider using zip ties around the handles to keep the doors from opening. If you are supervising a child on the balcony, be sure any furniture is centrally located, should the child decide to climb around and fall, they will fall onto the balcony and not over the side. It should be common sense, but “there’s nothing ‘common’ about ‘common sense.’” A child should never be permitted on a balcony without adult supervision.
Pills, Products, Plants, and Paint
Part of growing up is having teeth grow in. While children are teething, they will put almost anything and everything in their mouths, as they are also curious about it. To keep children safe while they explore, make sure all your knives are securely locked in a single drawer. Your medicine cabinet in your bathroom needs to be locked too, and if it doesn’t have a lock, then you need to relocate your medications to a drawer, cabinet, or cupboard that does. The same measures need to be taken with your cleaning products used to keep your apartment tidy, as kids might try to drink your multi-surface, glass, and wood cleaner. Knives, prescription pills, and cleaning products aren’t the only dangers you have around. Many ordinary house plants are poisonous to humans, and a curious child that doesn’t know any better might decide to throw a leaf in their mouth. You will have to guide the child around your apartment community and tell them not to touch or ingest any leaves from the plants. Additionally, chips of paint (notably in an older apartment building, where the paint still has lead in it), can be treacherous. This is another danger you will have to consciously warn your child about so they don’t eat any paint chips they may find on the ground of the apartment building. Should you come across a wall or ceiling with chipped paint, directly contact your landlord or maintenance department as soon as possible.
Neighbor Versus Stranger
Most children understand “stranger danger” fairly well, but being raised in an apartment makes it hard to differentiate between who is your neighbor and who is a stranger. After you move in, it is imperative to introduce yourself and your child to all the neighbors near your unit. Not only will this help your child distinguish who their neighbors are, but your neighbors will know there is a child living on their floor and they need to lookout for potential dangers. Once you and your child have met your neighbors, you should speak with your child and let them know they are not allowed in any other apartment unit without your permission. Likewise, you should always supervise your child while they play or occupy a communal room in the apartment building.