When you have a child crawling or running around your home, safety is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, you realize how many unsafe spaces you have in your home only after your child finds them. So, this should be a wake-up call to roll up your sleeves and start child-proofing your house. However, when you live in a rental, child-proofing can be challenging. You're not as free to make all the changes you want as you would be in your own house. There are specific rules you have to follow. But don't worry - there are many things you can do to make your rental safe for your child without breaking the lease. So, keep reading to find our tips on how to child-proof your rental trouble-free!
If you want to child-proof your rental, consulting your landlord or property manager is unavoidable. When you establish what child-proofing methods you wish to use, you'll see that many of them involve drilling or hammering. Well, before you do anything, you'll have to ask for permission. Some landlords and property managers will allow you to do everything that needs to be done. On the other hand, with others, you'll have to negotiate and find a compromise. That's why it's always a good idea to check your tenancy agreement and look for child-proofing and repairs clauses. Maybe your landlord has already given you a solution. For example, some landlords allow any type of child-proofing as long as you repair all the holes or repaint the chipped walls before you move out. If you don't have any similar clause in your agreement, suggest it to your landlord or property manager and find a solution that suits both sides.
If you're looking for a new rental to move into, make sure you choose a safe one. The best way to make your home safe for your child is to find the one with the fewest dangerous features. Or with the ones that can easily be covered, blocked off, or hidden. So, when you go rental hunting, here is what you should watch out for:
● A stairway that's open and cannot be blocked off with a baby gate. If the landlord doesn't offer a reasonable solution beforehand, you don't want to move into a rental with this problematic feature.
● Malfunctioning electrical cords or pulled-out sockets. Dealing with faulty electricity and its outlets can be pretty dangerous. Therefore, a rental with this problem is a big red flag for you and your child. Make sure to have an electrician check everything before you move in.
● Loose and lengthy blind and curtain cords. Believe it or not, accidents with this kind of cord are pretty common, and they can have fatal consequences. Therefore, make sure your landlord allows you to make changes if needed and child-proof your rental properly.
Additionally, when the time comes to move into your new rental, make sure to choose a trustworthy company that will be careful with your and your child's stuff. When planning the move, it's always a good idea to make it as affordable as possible and leave more funds for the child-proofing once you move in. For example, you can use second-hand boxes instead of buying new ones.
One of the steps you can't overlook when you decide to child-proof your rental is covering up all sharp edges. Whether your child crawls or runs around the home all the time, you need to make sure they won't hurt themselves while doing so. Sharp edges on coffee tables and other furniture should be dealt with as soon as possible. Safety guards are the easiest and least intrusive way of covering those sharp edges.
If you want to go one step further, you can always ask your landlord to replace that rectangular glass table with a wooden round one. An even better and safer idea is to get rid of the table altogether and create more space for your child to play. All things considered, covering every sharp or pointed edge and corner of your rental that can cause head or any other injury to your child should be the number one priority.
Even though baby gates are an obvious child-proofing method, we must mention it, especially if you live in a rental with a stairway. There are a few great greta options whem it comes to baby gates. However, since it you live in a rental, you have to think about the damage this gate will do to the property. Of course, there won't be any catastrophic damages, but drilling and chipped paint are still things you want to discuss with your landlord.
One of the best solutions is the 'pressure-mounted' gate. This type of gate is held against the walls by the discs that are screwed out, not in. So, there won't be any damage to the walls or staircase. This is an excellent solution for the bottom of the stairs. Unfortunately, if you need to install a gate on top of the stairs as well, you'll have to go for the 'hard-mounted' one. Why? Because the first ones can be opened if your child is persistent enough. The second ones, on the other hand, are sturdier and, thus, safer. And you don't want your children falling from the top of the stairs!
Since the 'hard-mounted' gate will do some slight damage to the walls, you can suggest to your landlord that you make necessary repairs when you decide to move out. It's a win-win for everybody.
Once they see they can, children are likely to open everything accessible to them, including windows and doors. When it comes to windows, you'll want to get a window guard. Since this option requires some drilling of window frames, make sure you talk to your landlord about it. You can also check for other safety devices that won't do any harm to windows. Additionally, make sure your child's crib or bed is far from the window. Actually, make sure everything they can climb on is moved away from it. You need to think about everything!
When your children learn how to open doors, they will do it all the time. This is okay as long as they don't realize they can open the front door as well and see an opportunity to run away. That's why you'll need to find a child-proof doorknob cover. This is definitely the best way to child-proof your rental and not do any damage to the property.
Last but not least - sockets and plugs, cords, and wires. First thing first, we live in the technology era, so it's normal to have a bunch of cables and wires lying around our floors. However, once there is a child involved, you'll need to find a way to tame that cord jungle to keep your child safe. The important thing is to keep all these cords out of the reach of your children, that is, off the floor. The best way to do this is to purchase a cable corral. Additionally, tuck the cords away and keep them behind the desk or other bigger furniture.
When it comes to electrical outlets, opt for safety plugs and covers. These will keep kids from putting anything in them and turning them on. Which they just love to do for some reason. Fortunately, solutions for this type of baby-proofing are also pretty rental-friendly, so you don't have to worry about breaking the tenancy agreement. Just let your landlord know about your plans, so there aren't any surprises when they come for a landlord inspection.
As you can see, there are many ways to child-proof your rental without breaking the tenancy agreement or seriously damaging the property. Of course, there will be some drilling and hammering, but as long as you talk about it with your landlord, you'll be able to find a win-win solution. After all, we all want the children to be safe, right? So, make sure to think about every little detail and corner of your rental that needs to be baby-proofed and try to find the rental-friendly option to do so. Good luck!