A visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house is a fun and exciting time for children. There is something about the unconditional love between a grandparent and grandchild that creates quite a remarkable bond. Unfortunately, a grandparent’s home can be filled with dangers for kids often not considered or encountered in the child’s own home. Failing to understand a home’s risks can turn a fun filled visit into a tragic event in the blink of an eye. What are some childproofing tips that grandparents should remember when preparing for a grandchild’s visit?
Prescription and over-the-counter medications pose certain risks. Along with age, for many grandparents, come illnesses or medical conditions requiring medications. Many older adults opt for easy-open caps and lids on medication bottles-or use “pill boxes” or medicine reminder style containers to make daily prescriptions more manageable. Along the same lines as medication hazards, overdoses of common vitamins and supplements can be fatal to small children. Child proof caps are seldom used on over the counter supplements, making them dangerous to curious, young children.
The basics should be childproofed. Electrical outlets should be covered, and accessible cabinets should be locked. A simple package of plastic outlet covers can literally be a life saver for little ones used to playing in a protected environment. Honestly, many grandparents forget how curious babies and toddlers can be-or fail to realize the differences between a grandchild’s personality and that of the child’s parents!
Many rooms and areas of the property may need to be placed off limits in lieu of extensive childproofing. Rather than rearranging or childproofing the entire home for a short grandchild’s visit, some rooms should be simply and securely placed off limits instead. If Grandma has a craft room brimming with beads, baubles, and precariously perched boxes of supplies on unanchored wall shelves-then pulling that door closed for the duration of the visit is wise. The same holds true for an outdoor workshop or garage full of dangerous equipment. If little Joey is unaware of the risks of a hacksaw blade-or even of easily opened bottles of motor oil, take some of the stress out of the visit by limiting access to risky areas!
Assess a Grandparent’s home from a child’s eye view. Does Grandma shelve a ton of breakable pretties on low shelves? Are heavy bookshelves freestanding and not secured with wall supports? Does Grandpa’s dog scatter about dog food, toys and treats? Take a look from below three feet from the floor at the many things a curious crawler or toddler will discover. Remember he or she WILL discover most anything below three feet off the floor!
Grandparents need to be made aware of a child’s personality “quirks” for successful childproofing. If a child is prone to view the toilet as a plaything, the bathroom should be placed off limits at grandma’s house without supervision. Is the child a climber? Perhaps a puller of cords, strings, etc.? The more consideration a child’s personality receives, the safer a visit can be! Shelves can easily be anchored, cords and strings secured, and favorite risky “playthings” temporarily removed from sight, if parents and grandparents work together to assess the home’s risk to the individual grandchild!
Make your grandchild’s visit a safe and happy one! Take the time to childproof and babyproof-it will reduce the stress and anxiety of the visit in the long run for everyone involved.
References and Additional Resources:
Childproofing Your Home