Home building has come a long, long way, even from 30 years ago. Scientists and companies have gone to war against household hazards from radon and asbestos to dangerous garage doors and outlets to oil-based paint and lead and others…and they’ve won. Well, baby proofing is part of that war. Infants, toddlers, and small children are susceptible to many dangers that can be hedged with proper planning. Babb Custom Homes makes baby proofing one of the many priorities when we are designing, planning, and building a custom home. Let’s take a look at some of the options and considerations to baby proofing.
STAGE ONE: COOING AND CRADLING
AIR – Built with new products and up-to-date standards, the air quality should be high in almost any new home. Asbestos, Radon, and other hazardous chemicals should be at safe levels. Mold is a little different. Since mold spores can travel in the air, your home is under constant threat of mold colonizing in damp places. Having excellent drainage to keep water out is a must, and so is proper ventilation. Mold is dangerous. The wrong type in the wrong amount with the wrong person can be disastrous.
But even as just an allergen, mold is a menace. Reducing allergens like mold will affect the flooring you choose. Carpet can harbor dust, dust mites, pollen, mildew, and other culprits. Wood or tile flooring can help. It’s worth noting, though, that there is a trade off. Carpet provides better safety in situations where the child falls down. Regular vacuuming and sweeping will reduce the allergens significantly. In severe cases, a home filtration system could be a good investment. Baby proofing any home should cause us to evaluate the air we breathe, but with building a custom home, we get to do it right from the start.
STAGE TWO: CRAWLING AND CRUISING
GRAVITY – We just mentioned one advantage of carpet, which is cushioning. Babies will fall down as they develop, so making the landing soft and safe may be a more significant benefit than allergen reduction. Using rugs is an option, but be sure to get the rubber padding to keep the rug from furling or sliding and creating a trip hazard. For stairs that do not have a barrier at the top or bottom to restrict access, at the minimum we can create sides which are safe. In addition to reducing spaces between the spindles or vertical supports, there are other solid structure options to keep a child from falling over the sides of the staircase.
Building bookshelves, cabinets, and other storage spaces into the walls, or at least fastening them to the walls, is greatly preferred. Free standing items are a hazard to little ones who may pull up onto them or bump into them. One of the great advantages of building a custom home is the opportunity to take these issues, such as baby proofing storage, into account. Babb Custom Homes has the ability to build storage into the home design in ways that are both practical and creative.
STAGE THREE: CLIMBING AND WALKING
MOBILITY – 100 percent supervision is nearly impossible. We turn our heads for two seconds and the little dude has skedaddled to an outlet or a door or a cabinet. Thankfully there are some great products out there to limit the risks. Door and window alarms are wonderful developments. They alert the caregiver if the child attempts to leave. These alarms are especially beneficial on doors that open to high decks or swimming pools. Window guards and safety locks are also available. The expense could be a great investment considering how much peace of mind is worth.
As far as climbing considerations when baby proofing, installing locks and fasteners on lower cabinets and drawers solves a lot of problems. Removing incentive to climb is paramount, so many parents choose to keep attractive items low, so there isn’t a need to climb to the top shelf. A drawer full of toys under the island or countertop may be a great option. Drawers of plastic food containers are almost always a big hit. Avoiding the temptation to climb is also a reason why many homeowners avoid catwalks and balconies.
Baby proofing when building a custom home has benefits for almost anyone, even if it’s just as an investment. At Babb Custom Homes, we are providing more than a home. Safety, peace of mind, return on investment, personalization, environmental consideration, life planning, lasting style and aesthetics, and dream realization – these are all services we offer to people building a custom home. If you are interested in baby proofing a new home, or you have any other questions related to building a custom home, contact us. We would love to build your dream home with you!