Remodeling your home can be both an exciting journey and a stressful period, especially if you have young children. Childproofing your home is a hard enough task, and remodeling adds a new level of risk to your children’s safety. Children like to explore and are curious by nature, which means that anything new and shiny can pique their interest. They can pop out from anywhere when you are not looking and might try to touch anything within their reach.
Managing a home with babies and toddlers is already complicated. Everyday chores become even more challenging when you have to live in a home that is getting renovated because you are essentially dwelling in a construction zone. Protecting the health and safety of your children is paramount, so here are 9 tips that can help you provide them with a safe living environment during the remodeling period!
Have the “talk”
The first step to childproofing a home during renovation is to make children aware of the dangers. You should explain the changes that will be happening in your home and lay some ground rules about which rooms they should and should not enter. You should also make it clear that adult tools should not be touched and explain why they are dangerous to them. Disciplining them and enforcing the rules is also of great importance. That said…
Supervise them when in the “construction zone”
Some children might get even more curious if you constantly tell them not to do something. One way to dispel the mystery around the renovation is to teach them how to use some of the smaller tools with supervision. In a less busy time of day, you can have them help you screw in a nail with a manual screwdriver while explaining to them why they should not touch the electric screwdriver. They can also watch a part of the remodeling process from a distance. Make sure they are not looking at anything that involves cutting or demolishing because it could result in them inhaling dust and other harmful substances. Sooner or later, they will lose interest and go back to more fun games.
Create a safe zone
Remodeling your home will disrupt your children’s habits, especially if you are working on the core rooms such as the kitchen, the bathroom, or the kids’ bedrooms. It is very important to create a safe zone for your children where workers will not enter and where they can play freely. Communicate with your contractor and make a clear distinction between the temporary living spaces and the remodeling spaces. That way, workers will know which rooms they should not enter and where not to leave tools that might catch children’s attention. Moreover, workers can also get hurt if a small child distracts them by popping out unexpectedly when they are lifting heavy loads or cutting materials, so it is good to separate them.
Designate alternative areas
If you are remodeling your child’s bedroom, you should move all their favorite toys, devices, and furniture to another room. Similarly, if you are remodeling your kitchen, you should move the most commonly used elements, such as the refrigerator, to a spare room, the hallway, or the garage. By having the essentials relocated, children will have fewer reasons to venture into parts of your home that are under construction. Alternatively, you can install locks and doorknob safety covers, add warning signs, or put up safety barriers and gates for your toddlers.
Put away the tools
In households with children, a good habit is to put away all the tools at the end of the day. Make sure that you unplug all power tools, take out the batteries from cordless tools, and collect everything that might be lying around, such as screwdrivers, hammers, extension cords, demolition bars, ladders, saw blades, drill bits, pliers, etc. If possible, it is good to put away all tools in a shed or a room with a lock to avoid children from accessing them. If you do not have a spare room, think about storing them in high places like the top of cupboards so your children cannot reach them.
Block electrical outlets
Safety covers for switches and outlets are a basic childproofing hack. However, this safety hack is often overlooked in spaces where you constantly use power tools and need access to electricity. Plugs are a good way to prevent children from inserting their fingers in the outlet. However, sliding plate covers might prove more useful to adults who constantly need to use the outlets.
Collect waste in containers
Collect the waste as you go along. It is good to keep the floor clean, so if a child happens to run through the space getting remodeled, they have a smaller chance of tripping on debris, stepping on nails, getting splinters from broken wood, cutting their feet (or hands) from broken glass, etc. Also, children are less likely to rummage through containers that look like trash cans than through piles of debris on the floor. If you can, use a magnetic floor sweeper to catch any nails or metal pieces that could be harmful to your child.
Ensure good air quality
Remodeling comes with a lot of dust and debris that pose a health hazard to children, especially those suffering from allergies and asthma. That is why you have to maintain good air quality in your home. Besides covering your furniture and entryways with plastic liners to reduce the transfer of dust, you should also ventilate the remodeling space by frequently opening windows and doors. Your little ones can get exposed to sawdust, mold, asbestos, and lead, which can cause breathing problems. Regardless of whether or not your real estate has a good ventilation system, air purifiers are a smart investment because you can keep using them to improve your indoor air quality long after the remodeling period is over.
Think like a toddler
You can do everything you can to childproof your house, and your little one will still find ways to get hurt. Our last tip is to take a seat on the floor and look at your home from the perspective of your toddler. That way, you can see what they can reach or where they can crawl. By doing so, you can identify potential risks and prevent accidents from happening during your remodeling process.
All in all, communication both with your children and your contractor is very important when remodeling your home. Properly childproofing your home can help you protect everyone involved in the project and ensure smooth sailing and timely completion of your home renovation.