Tools: This segment is chocked full of very simple do-it yourself additions to the home. Most of the devices we’ll mention require no tool assembly at all. The range tip brackets we’ll describe below require a drill that can penetrate the material on your kitchen floor (tile, concrete, etc.). The only other tool required is a screwdriver, used to remove and replace electrical outlet plates for a few devices that protect little fingers from electric shock.
Cabinet Door Locks: We featured a variety of devices with little levers that allow cabinet doors to open only an inch before a latch catches to prevent further opening, so your children won’t crawl into a cabinet full of cleaning fluids and other dangerous household items. They screw into the cabinet doors with screws that come with the locks.
Kitchen Drawer Locks: The same type of device as the cabinet door lock; this keeps kids from reaching over their heads into a drawer full of knives or other unseen dangers.
Bumpers for Sharp Corners: Foam-rubber pads keep kids from hurting themselves if they bump into the corner of an island, a cabinet or a tabletop. They attach simply with double-stick tape that comes packaged with the bumpers.
Double Door locks: These look like mini bicycle locks. They lock two adjacent cabinet doors together by the knobs so neither can be opened. They require no assembly at all.
Venetian Blind cord spool: These spools coil excess cord up and out of reach so kids can’t get tangled up in cord or rip the blinds off the windows. The device consists of two plastic pieces that snap together to form a spool around the blind cord.
Electrical Outlet Plugs: We featured simple plastic plugs that keep tiny fingers out of the socket holes, and hinged covers with snap locks that keep cords and outlets out of reach of tiny hands. One manufacturer has designed an outlet plate with socket hole plates that naturally swivel at an angle so that the actual socket holes are covered. Adults can easily swivel them back in place so a three-prong cord can be inserted normally.
Electric Outlet Covers: A bracket screws onto the outlet plate. A hinged cover snaps onto the bracket and over plugged-in cords. Slots at the bottom of the cover allow electric cords to extend out of the cover so the cover remains snugly attached to the bracket. Adult hands can pinch two lock tabs together to release the cover. Tiny hands can tug on the cover but it will not easily budge.
Door Knob Lock: We all have closets full of tools and cleaning materials that children should avoid. Different manufacturers offer different designs, but here’s the basic idea: two pieces of plastic snap together to form a loose ball around the real doorknob. A child will turn the plastic ball without ever making contact with the knob. An adult will pinch two tabs together which create a friction contact with the knob so it can be turned easily.
VCR Mouth Cover: This device deters peanut butter sandwiches from entering the VHS zone of a VCR. The simple snap-on piece covers the mouth of the VCR so nothing can enter until adult hands pinch two tabs together to remove the cover.
Toilet Seat Lock: The smallest amount of standing water offers the potential for drowning a small child. Sturdy double-stick tape attaches two plastic pieces to the toilet – one to the top lid, one to the side of the bowl. When properly positioned, the pieces will lock together. Two pinch-tabs let an adult easily undo the lock to lift the lid, while children are deterred from opening a Pandora’s box of danger.
Appliance Door Lock: These work just like the toilet locks – one piece on the body of the appliance, one on the door (of a refrigerator, a microwave, a range, a dishwasher - anything that opens up the opportunity for a child to crawl into a potential trouble spot).
Night Lights: This simple and obvious safety device can prevent a lot of injury and accidents in the dark, so don’t forget to place them everywhere a child could wander into dark corners of danger.
Range Knob Locks: These work just like door knob locks, but they have a hinge that opens with a snap so an adult can turn the knob. Pull the range knob off, slide the hinged device on the knob stem, slide the knob back on (over the lock), close the hinge and your range knob is inaccessible to tiny tots.
Range Tip Prevention Bracket: Children love to climb; sometimes they like to climb on the open doors of a kitchen range. Even the weight of a small child jumping on a range door could tip the range onto the child, creating a frightening scenario. Most kitchen range manufacturers now sell new ranges with tip brackets. These brackets vary in design, but most are built to attach to the floor and the wall behind the range.
You’ll need a drill, and you’ll need to take care if you’re drilling into a tile or concrete floor. Once the brackets are attached to the wall and floor, the back legs of the range slip into a snug space between the bracket and the floor. So if a child tries to tip the range, the brackets that secure the back legs of the range will prevent the range from tipping. If you have an older range that does not have tip brackets, buy them today (easily found at any home center or appliance dealer).
Window Gates: Some manufacturers have designed spring-loaded gates that lock into place so an open window poses no danger to a curious child.
These next two items cost a little more, but the protection they offer your children cannot be measured on a price tag:
Floating Pool Alarm: Click Here to Purchase This ProductWe featured a motion–sensitive device that floats on the surface of your pool. When the smooth surface of the water is disturbed (by a child jumping in for instance), the monitor sets off a piercing alarm that will instantly alert you that some thing or someone is in your pool.
Garage Door Openers & Automatic Garage Door Openers (GDOs) offer tremendous convenience, but the weight and momentum of a closing door can crush a child. In the past decade, federal laws have required all new GDOs to be installed with an electronic sensor system. This electronic “eye” will stop a closing door and send it back up if anything crosses its beam while a door is closing. In addition, doors are designed today with a pressure-sensitive mechanism that stops a closing door and sends it back up if the door meets any kind of physical resistance while closing (a child’s body for instance).
If you have an old garage door opener, you can buy the sensor system as an add-on. If you have children, this safety device is crucial, so if you don’t have a GDO with a sensor system, buy it today.
Every day, manufacturers are designing new and clever and simple devices that could save your child’s life. Most of the items we’ve mentioned here cost next to nothing, but their value in your home is immeasurable. Your child’s life could literally depend on the simple inexpensive life-saving items available everywhere. Visit your neighborhood home center or discount store. Do it today. Look at your children and decide what you’re willing to do to keep them safe and healthy.