Childhood is a time for growth and learning. Armed with a curious mind and tiny feet, a child explores everything possible within their reach. These little expeditions are strewn with mighty dangers like sharp edges of furniture, electrical wires and sockets, toxic wall paint, low cabinets used to store cleaning and other harmful products that are definitely not for consumption!
You obviously do not wish to stay in a home that is designed to be so safe that it barely has any furniture and fittings of convenience. The middle ground – a safe environment for your child to play and grow in with just the right balance of things you would not otherwise do without. Simple measures like having stable and balanced furniture for toddlers to lean on, installing grilles in balconies, tamper-proof sockets, low or adjustable kitchen counter will do the trick. These design ideas will help in shifting the perception of the house from an ‘adult house’ to a ‘kid’s den’.
Experts say there are many benefits to an environment where children are welcome, a child who is free to explore at home will become more alert, self-sufficient, and content to play alone.
Families building a new home or remodeling an older home can make the space more child friendly by adopting a new design. For those who are not looking for a new home or renovating any time soon can make a few adjustments to the design element of their homes that will make the home more comfortable and safe for the youngest member of the family.
Some of the design elements of a child friendly home are as below:
Anti-skid tiles - The flooring of your house needs to provide a good grip for kids to walk on, run or move around safely in the house. Use of anti-skid tiles can reduce the risk of slips and falls, and the resultant potential of injury.
Shockproof Switches - Advanced sockets have built-in automatic shutters to stop children from sticking their fingers or other objects into them. Using shockproof switches and sockets in all electrical outlets will prevent the risk of electrical hazards to your child while in the house.
Low height basins / Adjustable Sinks - Use of adjustable basins and sinks suited to a kid’s height would help the parent to avoid accompanying them every time they need to wash hands and face, or put their plates in the kitchen sink to clean.
Child-size Fittings - You will probably want to add small fixtures that fit your child’s hands to give them independence in the bathroom. The bath, sink and toilet should be something that will be suitable for their own size. If your child is still very young, get them a kiddie potty or a seat attachment to use with your existing wares.
Avoid sharp edges and ensure rounded corners - Sharp corners are a common injury risk for kids moving in the house. Use of special foam rubber bumpers on such edges can avoid injuries, making the corners rounded certainly is an innovation that can be adapted while designing a child friendly home.
Non-toxic paint - Paints play a very important role in creating the look and feel of the house. Use of anti fungal paints may increase the life of the paint job, but do remember that most anti-fungal paints contain toxic compounds. This is a strict no-no while making your home safe for your child. Invest in a good paint that is free of toxic chemicals and also low on Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions, thus improving the air quality of the house.
Baby-proof Kitchen - The kitchen obviously is the heart of a home and also the area where you have to be extra careful. Aside from teaching your child about kitchen safety and danger points, a regular check of the smoke alarm and having a fire extinguisher in the home is very essential. Use high storage cabinets to store potentially hazardous chemicals like cleaning products, and keep appliances out of reach. Always make sure that all sharp objects are kept away from your little one’s reach. A height of at least 45 inches above the floor is recommended.
Child sensor in lifts - Contemporary high-speed elevators are synonymous with modern architecture and innovative design. Use of lifts with sensors incorporated in lift doors will ensure that it senses the presence of a child and doesn’t close on them, avoiding injuries.
Safety measures in swimming pool - While kids are the happiest when they get water to splash and having a kiddie’s pool definitely adds on to their joy, it is important to ensure the height of a kiddie pool is appropriately calculated. A play pool can be 1.5 feet to 2 feet deep and for a higher age group can touch a depth of 4 feet or 5 feet.
Traffic free zones - Do have a safe space for kids to play. Children love to play in open areas. With the increasing transformation of playgrounds into parking spaces, carving out areas at the podium level and declaring it to be traffic free is extremely important. This gives them a safe space to play or do things they enjoy, be it cycling or playing gully cricket. It is also recommended to have an indoor play area for the rainy days and other indoor activities like table tennis, carom, gymnastics, etc.
In addition, cricket pitches, tennis courts, giant sized chessboards are designed these days to bring out the best sporting spirits while having fun. Playgrounds need to be thoughtfully installed consisting of soft patches, and non-skid surfaces in swings, jungle gyms, see-saws etc. Kids love to slide, do make sure that they are of a safe and reachable.
These are a just a few of many aspects that go into making your home and surrounding areas safe for your child in the most important years of their growth - it will help develop and determine your child’s character and personality when they grow up.
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