Low Cost Child Safeguarding Tips for Your Home

This summer I teamed up with Safety 1st, whose products I’ve been using for years to help create safe spaces in my home for my kids, to give a very special gift to one of our military heroes.

We headed to South Carolina, for a Designing Spaces Military Makeover for the Lunt family.

When Stephen Lunt was deployed to Afghanistan, he was forced to fight an insurgent in hand-to-hand combat. During the fight, the insurgent took a pickaxe to Stephen’s head which caused a great amount of internal damage, resulted in multiple surgeries and the removal of parts of his brain, and a long and painful recovery.

Through Operation Homefront the Lunt family was provided a beautiful townhome and the team from Designing Spaces gave it an amazing makeover. 

I love all makeover shows and it was fun and exciting to be in the middle of a real life, less than a week home makeover.

Ashley and Stephen have a baby boy, and Safety 1st wanted make sure he had plenty of safe spaces in their newly remodeled townhouse. We spent a hot summer day helping install safety gates, magnetic cabinet locks, corner guards and more.

After seven kids you would think I knew everything about creating safe spaces, but spending a few days with the Safety 1st team taught me a ton!

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The most important thing I learned from this trip, nothing can replace parental supervision. Child safety devices are awesome and they make our job as parents so much easier, but keeping an eye on your kids works best, every single time.    

Thankfully my friends at Safety 1st have tons of great products and tips to help mitigate potential hazards in your home. I’m excited to share some of the things I learned with you.

No Cost/ Low Cost Ways to Safeguard Your Home

Store harmful cleaners and chemicals out of your child’s reach.

Cleaners stored under the kitchen or laundry room sink might be easy to reach for you, but they are also easy to reach for your kids. Store them up high in a locked cabinet or closet that is inaccessible to your child. 

Cost: Free! 

Remove things like towels, dish rags, or potholders from the oven handle.

This is one I was doing for years, it is convenient to wipe your hands on a towel but a child could grab the child and accidentally open the oven. 

Cost: Free! 

Front oven lock: Under $5

Store sharp objects out of reach.

Does anyone keep their blender or food processor in a lower cabinet? I know I did! Certain kitchen tools have very sharp blades and can injure your child.

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Store sharp objects up high and out of reach. Let the kids play with the plastic containers, you’ve probably already lost the lids anyway!

Cost: $0

Wires and electrical outlets should be covered or hidden.

Tuck cords and wires out of reach in living areas and bedrooms. Depending on your furniture you can keep wires out of site or use a wire hider or cord shortener to keep the in view cords safely away from curious fingers.

Cost: $0-$5

Secure furniture to the wall. 

As you know, I don’t buy a lot of new furniture, but when I do, many of the pieces come with a furniture wall mount. This is critical in a house with small children.

If you don’t have furniture mounts you can purchase furniture wall straps which attach securely to a stud in your wall and keep your furniture from tipping.

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Kids are curious and they will climb on furniture! Take appropriate precautions to keep them safe! 

Cost: Under $5 

Keep kids in child friendly areas. 

If you have an extra curious toddler there is really no substitute for supervised safe spaces. You can use gates, high door latches, and door knob covers to keep them in a child friendly area.

Children do not need to be left alone in places like bathrooms, garages, and kitchens which are a filled with potential hazards. 

Safety gates are available for under $50 and are a great investment. My gates lasted for years and we are still using them to keep the dog out of certain areas of the house.

The nice thing about gates, door knob covers, and outlet covers is that they are portable, so if you are traveling this month you can take them with you and create safe spaces no matter where you go.

Cost: Under $50

As you can see, creating safe spaces for your children is really about looking at the house from their perspective. This might mean crawling around on your hands and knees to find potential dangers that could otherwise go unnoticed.

You can also watch the awesome Military Makeover that was done for the Lunt family and see their reaction to the big reveal!

 


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Safely Hang Christmas Lights

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Getting ready for the holiday season probably includes putting up decorations and lights, which is why it is a good idea to learn how to safely hang Christmas lights outside your home. Following these steps will ensure that you can enjoy the holiday season from home instead of from a hospital bed.

How to Safely Hang Christmas Lights at The Happy Housewife

Prepare in Advance

Before you climb on a ladder, make sure you have everything you need. If you are using old lights, inspect the strings for cracked bulbs, frayed wires, or any other hazard that could make the lights unsafe.

Invest in plastic clips to hold the lights in place, and have a bucket or organizer that can attach to your ladder. This will make it easy to grab the clips as you need them without bending over or losing your balance. You should also create a plan for your lights so you know in advance how many strings you will be hanging and where they will be placed.

Ladder Safety

Ladders can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Make sure that you have a safe ladder that reaches the height you need. Don’t take it upon yourself to modify an existing ladder to make it reach. This can make the unit unstable, which can cause injuries.

Have a spotter with you to help hold your ladder steady, and always make sure that the ladder is placed on level ground. You should never stand on the top step of the ladder. Remember, if the waistline of your pants is over the top of the ladder, you have climbed too high.

Electrical Safety

Aside from falls off of the ladder, electrical hazards are the other big safety concern for hanging Christmas lights. You should never connect more than three strings of lights together, and you should ever use a damaged set of lights.

If you are using an outdoor outlet, be sure that it is a GFCI outlet. These outlets are designed to prevent shock and injury. Should you use an indoor power source, use a strip surge protector, but don’t overload it with too many lights. When you use indoor power, make sure that your extension cords don’t cause a tripping hazard in the home.

Knowing how to safely hang Christmas lights will prevent injuries to you and your family. Making your home beautiful shouldn’t be dangerous, so make sure you use these steps to safely install your lights and decorations. Once in place, these lights will add a little bit of holiday magic to your home.

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Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Ice Proof Steps During Winter

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern

Among the many hazards that come with winter, simply navigating the front steps can be one of the worst. Icy roads are challenging enough, but you can avoid driving for at least a limited amount of time. However, you do need to know how to ice proof your steps during winter so that, if nothing else, they can be used in emergency situations.

How to Ice Proof Steps During Winter at The Happy Housewife

The easiest way to keep your steps free of ice continuously is to remove any kind of buildup that lands on them, whether it is hail, sleet, or snow. This may seem unnecessary if you don’t plan to go outside, but you really don’t want to have to remove a thick layer of snow or ice when you’re in a rush to head out for supplies or if emergency personnel need access. Other than that, you never know when someone might stop by. You don’t want to put them at risk.

Rock Salt

Since you can’t stand on your steps all day removing ice, you need to take steps to prevent the stairs from freezing whether you clear them or not. Rock salt is relatively inexpensive and can be liberally sprinkled over the steps to thaw forming ice and prevent further icing. When facing a heavy snow, remove the snow and then sprinkle on the rock salt. Though rock salt works fast and is larger than table salt, table salt and even Epsom salt can be used in a pinch.

Other Options

When you absolutely don’t have any kind of salt to use, it’s time to look for other methods. Sand works well for traction, but you don’t want to dig in the frozen ground and you probably don’t have a sandbox in your living room. Kitty litter can absorb some of the moisture and provide some traction at the same time as can Oil Dry, if you happen to have it in your garage. While these won’t melt the ice, they will help with traction on the steps.

Another method is to use outdoor mats that you occasionally shake off, but these need to be tacked down or they become a hazard themselves.

Don’t Use Hot Water

You might be thinking that some hot water would serve you well, but this method can actually cause you more problems than you are already dealing with. Hot water actually freezes faster than cold water does. This means that hot water might clear the ice for a moment or melt at least some of it, but then you are left with a thin layer of hot water on your steps and a false sense of confidence in the safety of your steps.

Combine those two things with sub zero temperatures and you may as well have an ambulance on standby. Instead, keep a shovel, broom, and salt on hand through the winter and simply maintain your steps.


Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Learning how to weatherstrip your doors and windows is a great way to improve the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system. It can also save an average of 10 to 15 percent on your monthly energy bills. Here are a few quick and easy steps you can use to seal the gaps on your home’s doors and windows.

How to Weatherstrip Doors and Windows at The Happy Housewife

Choose Your Weatherstripping Product

There are several different types of weatherstripping products to choose from. Some are more expensive than others, and some require more work to install. Typically, felt is the most economical option. You can also choose metal strips, foam, or vinyl. When you research the different types, you will want to look out for price and ease of installation. Products that come with pressure-sensitive adhesive backings are the easiest to install on your doors and windows.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

You will need to cut your weatherstripping to fit the size of your door or window. Most products can be cut using heavy-duty scissors. Once you have measured the area where you will be applying the weatherstripping, simply cut each strip to the appropriate size. Make sure to measure twice so that you don’t waste any of the material.

Easy Application

Begin by washing the area where you will apply the weatherstripping. This will allow adhesive to stay secured to the bottom of your door or window sash. Once the area is clean and dry, simply remove the backing and press the weatherstripping into place. You will want to allow some time for the adhesive to set before you open or close the window or door.

Metal Strips that Require Nails

If you choose to install metal strips, you will need to follow a few more steps. You will want to have a screwdriver, hammer, nails, and metal-cutting snips. Once you have cut each strip into place you will need to position them so that you can see any areas where you might need to trim the metal around locks or hinges. Next, nail each piece into place at the top and bottom. This will allow you to remove them easily if you find that your measurements are off. Once everything is in place, you can affix the rest of the nails to secure the metal strips.

Improving your home’s heating and cooling efficiency is as easy as following these simple steps. Now that you know how to weatherstrip your doors and windows, you can start inspecting your home for air leaks. You’ll be able to keep warm air in during the winter and keep cool air in during the summer once you install weatherstripping in your home.

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Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.