15 February 2018

How to child-proof your rental home




John Bell

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Whether you are expecting a baby or your bundle of joy has just arrived, it is time to ensure your home is as safe for your child as it can be.

Firstly, inspect the property to see if there are any issues that need to be reported to your landlord or estate agent. For example, look out for missing or damaged posts in railings - they must be a maximum of 10 cm wide to prevent children sticking their heads through and getting stuck. 

Another important thing to check is the pull-cords on your blinds. They must be tightly mounted to the wall or have a break-link that will ensure the cord breaks if a child happens to wrap it around their neck. These should be checked annually during your property inspection, but if you have any doubts or questions, contact your landlord or estate agent. 

If you’re looking to block off parts of your home that are potentially hazardous, then baby gates or stair gates are perfect, particularly for babies between 0 and 2 years old. Pressure-mounted gates are perfectly adequate at the base of the stairs, but shouldn’t be used at the top as, with the correct pressure on the baby gate, your baby could fall through.

Remember to contact your landlord and ask for a permission to drill some holes to install the gate and confirm, in writing, how you’ll repair any damage when you leave. You don’t need to contact your landlord before you carry out minor adjustments that won’t leave any damage. However, if you’re unsure about any work within your home, always ask. 

Keep all chemicals and cleaning products in high cabinets, out of reach of children. You should also install cabinet stoppers or locks for your lower cabinets and drawers to prevent your child opening them.

If you have furniture with sharp edges that could potentially be dangerous, use edge and corner guards. It’s also a good idea to get some safety socket covers to prevent your child touching electric outlets – they’re both available in most DIY stores, specialist mother and baby retailers, and online.

For more information about safety in your home, take a look at this handy guide by the Residential Landlords Association. If you’re looking for a rental property, read our top tips on how to find the right one for you here.