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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkPuerto Vallarta Real Estate | May 2007 

If Walls Could Talk - Child Proofing Your Vacation Home
email this pageprint this pageemail usJim Morrison - PVNN

As the father of 2 very active sons, experience has taught me there is no substitute for constant, careful parental supervision...
Let’s start out by admitting nothing can be child proofed. The following information may help, but as the father of 2 very active sons and as a recovering kid myself, experience has taught me there are no substitutes for constant, careful parental supervision.

Kids tend to stay a step ahead of the engineers who design these things, but here is a partial list of easy ways to eliminate some serious hazards from your home:

In the House

Electrical receptacle protectors are pretty common, but some are better than others. The little plastic ones that simply slide into the receptacle are outdated. The best ones are easily fastened to the screw that secures the cover plate and have latched covers on them. They are inexpensive and easy to install.

Any room being used as a bedroom really should have at least one window that will open to at least 20 X 24 inches and the interior sill must be no higher than 44 inches from the floor. In an emergency, the window could be your child’s only escape, and a firefighter’s only way into the house.

Don’t forget to visit the consumer US Product Safety Commission’s website at every once in a while. It will surprise you to learn what toys and household products you might have brought from home have been recalled because they are dangerous.

Oven locks and special plastic rings that fit over the burner controls make it almost impossible for your curious little one to turn on the stove when you aren’t there.

Before you have children, it doesn’t matter where your carving knives and kitchen appliances were kept. Once the kids master the art of walking, however, their little eyes turn upward and they will pull things down off the counter as soon as they can reach them, so place dangerous items judiciously.

When kids see their favorite characters on television, its natural for them to touch or even try to hug the screen. Every year children are seriously hurt by pulling large television sets onto themselves. There are several devices on the market today to fasten bookshelves, TV’s and other heavy items to the wall to prevent these disasters.

If you live in a condominium, be sure that all stairways leading to and from your unit are clear of storage, debris, etc. This is required by all major Codes and is paramount to your safety in an emergency.

In the Bathroom

Medicine, razor blades, and cleaners must obviously be kept far from children’s reach. Remember, at about 18 months old, many children will be able to move an object like a chair, or a toilet training “potty” and climb up onto it to gain access to a counter they could not previously reach.

Toilet locks are relatively new and very effective, just remember to teach your guests how these things work. They keep the lid closed to protect your child from the always gross, but potentially fatal hazard of the unguarded toilet.

Removable non-slip pads are great in the bathtub. They provide traction on the surface of the tub to help prevent your young ones from falling and they can be removed for when you don’t need them or if you’re taking a bath on the road.

Don’t buy bathtub toys that squirt water for your kids. Water left stagnant inside the toy between baths will grow molds and can harbor serious pathogens. The inside of these toys cannot be properly cleaned.

Buy a candy thermometer and check the temperature of the hot water. If its higher than 120°F, lower it. It takes just one second of contact with 150°F water to give your child a third degree burn.

Outside the House

Keep the windows rolled up and the doors locked when the car is parked. Every year there are reports of a child playing in a car who released the emergency brake, rolling the car into the street. And never leave a child alone in a car, even for a minute.

Decks and porches more than 30 inches from the ground should have railings at least 36 inches high or higher. You should not be able to pass a five inch diameter ball between the balusters either. Railings must also be very stiff. If you can shake the railing by hand easily, it should be reinforced.

Check the stamp in the corners of your sliding glass door. If you don’t see the words “Tempered Safety Glass” then its plate glass, which is a real hazard if a child (or adult) runs into it and breaks it. Plate glass doors should be replaced with tempered safety glass.

Swimming pools are a lot of fun, but they can also be dangerous. Though many don’t, every pool should have a fence around it to make it impossible for an unsupervised young child to get in the pool. Also, any electrical devices near the pool must be plugged into a GFCI protected electrical receptacle.
Casas del Mar is a property services firm that manages, rents, and inspects homes all over the Banderas Bay area. Their philosophy is simple: "Listen to your customers, and don’t quit until they are happy. Ever." You can send them your questions at They are your real estate resource.

Click HERE for more articles by Jim Morrison.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for research and educational purposes • m3 © 2008 BanderasNews ® all rights reserved • carpe aestus