How to Child-Proof Your Rental Property

Welcoming a child into your life brings happiness, excitement, and new responsibilities.  Among these is the critical responsibility of protecting their safety in your rental home. While owning a home allows you more freedom to add child-proofing measures, renting doesn’t mean compromising safety. With a proactive approach and strategic planning, you can create a safe environment that reduces possible hazards while providing peace of mind.

If you’re like most new parents, you’ve been thinking about the all-important baby-proofing checklist since you brought your new baby home. You may be prepared with dozens of baby gates and electrical outlet covers, but if you live in an apartment or a rental home, you may have unique baby-proofing needs.

From getting suitable furniture to installing safety gadgets, this post covers all you need to know to create a safe sanctuary for your little ones. Whether you’re a first-time parent or an experienced guardian, these tips will help you change your rental property into a child-friendly haven without breaking the bank or breaching your lease agreement.

Child-Proofing Tips for Tenants

  1. Windows

Windows pose the greatest threat on upper floors but can be dangerous everywhere.  If your rental’s window frames do not have safety locks, you can purchase them for a low cost. Look for window guards that allow you to open the windows while preventing your infant from pushing out the screen. Avoid placing furniture near windows without locks and guards, especially your baby’s cot. Professional Property Management of Northern Virginia understands the importance of making a rental safe for all renters.

Window treatments are additional safety things to consider. Cordless devices are the safest alternative for small children. In a rental, you may have little choice except to use the window treatments that are already installed. If your apartment already has corded blinds or shades, ensure they are always securely fastened out of your child’s reach, and keep any furniture away from them to prevent your child from climbing and gaining access.

  1. Stairs and Doorways

Blocking off dangerous doorways and staircases is at the top of every baby-proofing checklist, but installing gates can be difficult if you are not allowed to drill holes in the walls. Remember that there are two types of baby gates, each meant to prevent a baby from entering a corridor, room, stairwell, or pet area. One type requires screwing into the wall, while the other is labeled as “no-drill.” This second type, which is pressure-mounted to stay in place, is acceptable on one level, but it is a bad idea at the top of the stairs since it is more likely to be pushed over by a baby.

If your lease says you can’t screw a baby gate into the wall, it’s time to talk to the landlord. To avoid tragedy, you’ll need to obtain authorization before installing a secure baby gate. As you look for gate choices, consider what additional rooms you don’t want your infant crawling into, such as pet areas, the kitchen, laundry room, or mudroom, and request permission for each location. Solid panel gates are safer than bar gates.

  1. Cabinets and Drawers

A fantastic first step for your cabinets and drawers is reorganizing things so that ingestible items, such as cleaning supplies and toiletries, are put higher up. It is also advisable to implement cabinet-door locking systems.

There are numerous options for child-safety locks for doors and drawers, many of which will not jeopardize your security deposit. Some are magnetic, while others must be fastened into the cabinets, so check the labels carefully.

Consider speaking with your landlord or management about locks before going shopping. Chances are, you are not the first pregnant tenant in your complex, and management may even be ready to adjust no-drill restrictions for safety reasons.

Dealing with Potential Hazards

  1. Swimming

When renting a property with a swimming pool, safety becomes a priority. Start by securing the pool area with a self-latching gate to prevent unsupervised access. Invest in pool alarms to notify you if somebody enters the water unexpectedly. 

Additionally, provide suitable flotation devices and enforce strict rules for swimming without supervision. Regularly inspect and repair pool equipment to avoid accidents caused by faults. Educate your children on pool safety, particularly the dangers of rushing near the pool and diving into shallow water. By addressing these potential hazards, you can enjoy the benefits of a pool while keeping your family safe.

  1. Electrical Outlets

To protect youngsters from electrical outlets, use outlet covers or plugs, which are widely available at hardware stores. These affordable gadgets are simple to install and efficiently keep children from sticking things into sockets. Consider repositioning furniture to prevent access to plugs, or use furniture with built-in outlet covers. 

For additional safety, utilize outlet covers that close automatically when not in use. Inspect outlets regularly for signs of damage and solve any concerns as soon as they arise. Educate your children about the dangers of electrical outlets and set clear boundaries. Taking these procedures will dramatically reduce the chance of electrical mishaps in your rental home.

  1. Stairs

Stairs pose a serious risk for young children in any home. To reduce this risk in your rental home, place safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs to restrict entry without supervision.  Ensure that these gates are adequately grounded and meet safety regulations. 

Also, consider installing non-slip traction strips on stair treads to lessen the chance of slips and falls. To keep a child-safe environment, inspect stairs on a regular basis for any loose or damaged components and rectify any issues as soon as they arise.

Landlord Responsibilities for Child Proofing

Landlords have a responsibility to keep rental premises safe for tenants, including children. While responsibilities may differ by location, landlords are typically required to ensure an environment that is free of hazards.  This involves installing and maintaining vital safety elements such as smoke alarms and security locks. 

However, landlords are generally not obligated to implement specific child-proofing precautions unless local regulations require otherwise. Nonetheless, landlords should respond swiftly to any known dangers and consider reasonable tenant requests for child-proofing measures to create a safe living environment for families.

Final Thoughts

Childproofing your rental property is critical for ensuring the safety and well-being of young tenants. By proactively identifying and eliminating potential risks, landlords, and tenants may establish a safe living environment that reduces the likelihood of accidents and injuries. 

Every effort, from installing safety gates and outlet covers to securing furniture and educating youngsters about household dangers, helps to create a safer environment for families. Landlords and tenants can build a positive and supportive living environment where children can grow while being safe by collaborating and prioritizing safety.

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