Tony and Rowena R. are looking forward to moving into their new condo atMcKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio. The young couple feel it’s a “complete community” that’s perfect for them, their toddler and the baby on the way. It has restaurants, shopping and recreational facilities, and even international schools. It is also in the proximity of a world-class hospital. Rowena is preparing the condo unit for their move. Aside from working with an interior designer for the look and theme–she’s picked a color scheme and is now shopping for furniture–she is researching on baby-proofing the condo. “One of the reasons I picked the Fort is that it gives me a sense of freedom: so many recreational options, a smart layout that gives a feeling of space and privacy even if I’m in the middle of Taguig. I want my kids to be able to freely move around in the condo unit and still be safe.”
Megaworld Properties gives these tips on how to child-proof a unit. The KitchenMost condo units have an “open layout” where the kitchen is easily accessible. That’s why it’s important to put safety latches on all cabinets and drawers, especially those that store poisonous products like insect repellant sprays and bleach, or products that can irritate the skin, such as cleansers. If you buy products in bulk or wholesale, don’t transfer to old soda bottles or food canisters. As an extra precaution, these should be placed in plastic containers that are clearly labeled with the name of its contents. Knives, scissors and other sharp or heavy kitchen tools shouldn’t be left on top of the counter. Keep them in a cabinet (save space by installing a magnetic rod on the cabinet door) or hang on wall hooks. When you’re cooking, use the stove’s back burners. Always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so they can’t be reached by curious hands, or accidentally knocked over by whoever’s in the kitchen. When you’re not cooking, use a stoveguard to cover or lock the temperature knobs. Corner guards are crucial for high kitchen tables. The legs of high kitchen stools should also be reinforced with anti-skid stickers.
The BathroomThe bathroom cabinets and drawers should also have safety latches on cabinets and drawers. For safety and convenience, ask the interior designer to install hooks for your hair dryers or flat irons so you can tuck them away when you’re done. Never leave these plugged in or on the counter. Place a rubber mat on the shower and bathtub floor, and never leave a child in the bathroom unattended. Choose a water heater with anti-scalding devices (or buy one that can be fitted on the shower head). Kids have more delicate skin, and it takes just three seconds for a child to get third-degree burns from water at 140 degrees.
Kids can drown in just an inch of water, or they can slip and hit their head on the counter. Living roomMake sure that all unused electrical outlets are covered with outlet protectors or safety caps. For outlets that are near water sources, such as the bathroom or kitchen, get ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which will automatically shut off electricity if an appliance is submerged in water. For low outlets that are near the floor, make sure the plugs fit in snugly and are difficult to pull out. Make sure that coffee tables and side tables have corner and edge bumpers, especially if your child is learning to crawl and walk. It’s also best to avoid rugs or carpets on corridors when you have young kids running around. If you want a splash of color on the floor, consider special tiles instead. Secure heavy furniture like book cases and shelving with sturdy brackets and anchors. As an extra precaution against it tipping over, put heavier objects on the bottom shelves.
Windows and balconiesPosition furniture away from windows so that children can’t reach window sills. Don’t use blinds that have looped cords, which can pose as a strangulation risk. Add high locks to doors that open to balconies or to window seats that can be opened.
If you leave your balcony door open for long periods, for fresh air or sunlight, add a screen door with a child-proof lock. BedroomPosition your child’s bed and crib away from windows. According to new safety standards, cribs should not have drop-latch sides. Make sure beddings are made of breathable fabric, and that crib pillows are light and won’t pose a suffocation risk. Keep toys and books in low-lying shelves, which are much safer and accessible than heavy toy boxes with wooden lids that can accidentally fall and pinch your child’s fingers. If space is an issue, store some toys in boxes and then rotate your selection every few weeks.