Making your home safe for young children is a subject that I like to return to every year, as the principles of caution and safety are still the same, but there are constantly new products to help us keep our homes safe for the kids. For last years list, visit child proofing a home.
This year we went shopping at the Safety Super Store in Toronto, Ontario.
The first photo above shows a unique product called angel care. It is one of those remote speaker baby monitors that lets you hear what is happening but it is also a pressure sensitive pad that is placed under the baby's mattress and it detects even the smallest movement. It is so sensitive that if the baby stops breathing for more than 20 seconds, it will set off a signal.
The second photo shows heat sensitive stickers that you put on anything that can get hot, like kettles and stoves. When they do get too hot to touch, the sticker changes from black to red, so you can teach young kids to not try to touch anything when the sticker is red.
The third photo also deals with heat, but this time with bathwater that might be too hot. Those little foot shaped stickers go in the bottom of the tub as anti-slip stickers, but the black ones change colour to yellow if the water is too hot for a baby.
We also showed the Flood Alarm that doubles as a fill sensor. Just hang it over the edge of the bathtub with its own detection wire and it will set off a signal when the tub is at the height you want. That allows you all the normal distractions while getting babies or kids ready for bed, without worring about a flood in the bathroom.
The next photo shows a large soft cussion that can be put around counter or table edges for the year or two that the kids are just the right height to bang their heads on those edges, particularly the square sharp edges.
The little plastic cup in the next photo is actually a testing device, available at any child protection store. If you can put something completely inside this cup, it is considered dangerous for young children as anything that small can get caught in their throats. Wider or longer objects are considered safe.
Child proof locks for drawers are usually quite cumbersome or even downright ugly. Not the one you see in the next photo. The little catch is installed on the inside of the drawer and is activated by a magnet, that you keep high on a shelf away from the kids. The drawers have no visible barrier, but they don't open without the magnetic key.
On the high tech end they now have modems that attach to the household alarm system for pre-teens. When the kid gets home from school and turn off the alarm, an e-mail is automatically sent to your office computer, telling you who has arrived at home, and when. They can't forget to call you because they have to turn off the alarm! You can even add in a two way camera system that uses the internet so you can see and even talk with them as they check in. That can be reassuring for working parents.
Although a baby sitter is not anything new, one with a diploma from the Canada Safety Council's baby sitter's training course might be new to you. Christine Benson took this course and ran us through her 9 steps to baby sitting safety.
1- Make a contact phone list as in the photo above. Put one copy on the fridge but have the baby sitter keep on in their pocket as well.
2- The last phone number on that list is a near-by neighbour. Make sure that the neighbour knows when you are using a baby sitter and show the baby sitter where that neighbour lives.
3- Give the sitter a complete tour of the house. In an emergency they don't want to be hunting for back doors or other escape routes.
4- Make sure the sitter knows two ways out of each room, and how to lock and un-lock your doors and windows.
5- Make sure that both the sitter and the childern know an escape plan for getting out in the case of an emergency, including a meeting place outside. You don't want a sitter going back in for a child who already got safely out.
6- Show your sitter where you keep your fire extinguisher.
7- Make sure that the sitter recognizes the different sounds for smoke and household alarms as well as carbon monoxide detectors.
8- Inform you sitter about any medical needs for the kids, such as alergies.
9- If you arrive late -- make sure your sitter gets home safely. They are someone elses kid.
As I look over Christine's list, I bet there are a few items that you as a family have never really looked at closely. Having to get it right for a sitter will help to make your home a safer place even when you are taking care of the kids. Thanks Christine.