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How to child-proof the living areas of your apartment

By Andrew Bell

Child-proofing your Gold Coast property can seem like an impossible challenge, especially if you're in an apartment. However, creating a safe space for your curious toddler is easier than you'd expect. Here are our tips for child-proofing the living areas of your apartment.

Kitchen

Child-proofing your kitchen can be a tricky task to tackle. A general rule of thumb is restrict your children from unsupervised access to the kitchen, however in many open plan Surfers Paradise apartments, this option isn't feasible. Thankfully, creating a safe kitchen space isn't impossible. While there are many locks you can purchase to stop your toddlers from opening the oven door, stoves with twist control knobs pose a hazard as little hands may reach up and turn them, posing a fire risk. If possible, pop these knobs off and store them in a drawer between use. Alternatively, a stove guard stops those under a certain height from accessing the controls and elements of your stove.

A refrigerator seems like an unlikely item for a child to be able to move. However, when the refrigerator door is open it looks like a lot of fun and becomes much easier to accidently tip. An appliance lock will stops your child from opening the refrigerator door and creating any risk of danger – as well as accessing any food they shouldn't be eating. Additional locks should be placed on low cupboards and drawers around the kitchen to avoid finger jams and cutlery related accidents. Child locks are generally reasonably priced, however cupboard handles are also easily secured with a hair-tie or rubber band.

Living room

The living room is a central hub where many families choose to wind down at the end of the day. For this reason, it's important that this space is as safe as possible for your wee one, starting with your furniture. In Australia, at least 22 children under nine have died from furniture or televisions falling on them in the last 18 years, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. Flat-screen televisions, in particular, are easily tipped over by toddlers climbing on the entertainment unit or table that it is sat on. If possible, secure your television to the wall using brackets or a temporary anchor system. 

For parents of toddlers, the best coffee table to have is of circular shape, due to the lack of corners. Angular coffee tables pose a risk to your children if they were to run into them. Don't rush to purchase a new table, however – an easy, temporary solution is to simply cut a pool noodle down to the length size of your table, and slice down one side of it. Now, you can easily slide on and off the pool noodle when you're in the living room to reduce the hazard of collision without committing to a total change in table.

If your living area allows access to a balcony, ensure that this door is securely locked at all unsupervised times to make sure your toddlers aren't exploring alone in dangerous territory.

Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the riskiest rooms in the house for inquisitive toddlers, but is easily secured with a few steps. The best way to secure this space is by having a "twist and grip" door knob lock on the handle. This stops them accessing the room both for their safety, and to keep it as your own private space of relaxation. If this isn't an option, you'll need to pay attention to the potential dangers in the space. Low-lying electrical outlets should be covered either with tape or plastic plug locks, and the lid of your toilet locked down.

Any cleaning supplies or medicines should be kept out of reach too. However, it's key to remember that toddlers are determined – where there's a will, there's a way, and this includes scaling furniture to get to their desired object. Make sure hampers or other climbable surfaces are kept away from counters to ensure that they won't use them as a means to a potentially dangerous end.

If you're looking for a new Gold Coast property for your growing family, get in touch with the team at Ray White Surfers Paradise.

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