Home improvement insight: 5 tips to redesign with kids' safety in mind

(BPT) - Smart homeowners take a strategic approach to home improvement projects such as redoing a playroom, living room or bedroom to keep kids' safety in mind during the redesign process.

By being proactive today, you can ensure your entire family can safely enjoy the results of your home improvement project. Here are the top five things to keep in mind to create a stunning yet safe space for your family:

Window coverings

Corded window coverings are a Top 5 Hidden Hazard in American homes, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Dangling or accessible cords on window coverings can pose an accidental strangulation hazard to infants and young children. The Window Covering Safety Council recommends only cordless window coverings or window coverings with inaccessible cords be used in homes with small kids.

Consumers can easily identify products best suited for homes with young children by looking for the Best for Kids certification label on the packaging of a large variety of products. Window covering products that qualify for “Best for Kids” either have no cords or inaccessible cords. In order to be eligible for this certification, manufacturers must submit their products for third-party testing to determine if they meet the Best for Kids program criteria. (See windowcoverings.org for additional information.)

Electrical

Electrical updates should always be made with curious kids in mind. It's easy to update outlet covers to sliding plug options. With these you never have to worry about replacing the outlet plug again because it closes automatically when not in use.

Larger electrical enhancements can help as well. Streamline the aesthetic of your space while eliminating cords by updating wall lighting. For example, a few sconces might replace reading lights, plus they're high enough to keep out of reach of young kids. Another example: a new dimmable ceiling fan provides safe air circulation with customizable light output.

Smart home upgrades

Technology is a home improvement game-changer that can make spaces more livable and safe. Smart window and door locks can be installed throughout the home. Kids can now securely enter without a key and parents are sent an alert at that time. You can also set alerts for windows left open so you know to close them to reduce fall risks.

Another smart home improvement to consider: motion-activated sensors. These sensors can be placed anywhere you don't want children to be. For example, when your child opens the front door before you wake or he tries to get into the medicine cabinet, you're sent an alert to your phone that makes you immediately aware of the activity.

Furniture and decor

That vintage armor will look perfect in your just-redone space ... until your kids start to pull out the drawers and roughhouse around it. Tip-overs are another Top 5 Hidden Hazard by the CPSC, which notes in the U.S. a child is sent to the emergency room every 30 minutes as a result of falling furniture.

Furniture, TVs and appliances can tip over and crush children, so take an extra step to keep kids safe. Always stabilize furniture, decor and any other items that could fall over. Safety anchors and brackets are widely available online and at retail home improvement stores. They are quick and easy to install and may save a life. (See www.anchorit.gov for additional information.)

Interior paint

Painting a room is one of the most affordable yet dramatic ways to refresh a space. However, not all paint is created equal. To maintain high indoor air quality and a safe area for curious kids, be a selective shopper with interior paint.

Before you select your hue, research paints that are appropriate for children. Look for zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) labels and environmentally friendly options. When in doubt, ask at the paint counter which paints are best for sensitive family members.

You'll love your updated home even more when you can trust it is safe for you and your children. With these simple tips you can create a space that is secure, stylish and safe for all.

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