More than 4,000,000 children sustain accidental injuries at home annually and 2,300 of them die from these injuries according to a report by A Secure Life. This can potentially leave landlords liable to lawsuits from tenants, not to mention hefty and unnecessary compensation fees. Federal fair housing regulations prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants with children so the only way to avoid such situations is to childproof your property. That said, as a landlord, when you carry out tenant screening services for new tenants to determine their creditworthiness and check for any criminal records, it is important to ensure your property provides high safety standards for babies. This will not only serve to avoid legal suits but it will also act as an additional selling point and enhance your marketability. Luckily, making a house safe for babies is not an expensive venture and does not require large investments.
The restless and artistic escape nature of babies means they are exposed to a lot of dangers especially if you did not baby proof your rental house. These include falling off stairs and windows, suffocation, drowning and slamming of toes and fingers. Installing baby stair gates on the top and bottom of stairs prevents babies from falling off as they crawl around the house. The gates can either be permanent, drilled at the bottom and top, or instead you can use temporarily pressured gates usually installed at the stair bottom. Data from the Centre of Injury Research shows that an average of 14 children are injured daily as a result of falling off from windows. Landlords should, therefore, have windows fitted out of reach for babies where possible. In addition, the windows should have safety guards to prevent children from falling off. Safety locks should also be added on the windows so as to make it impossible for children to open.
Working smoke alarms and CO2 sensors can be the difference between life and death in a home. Given that babies on their own aren’t able to detect fire breakouts or saturation of CO2 that usually results in death, having sensors and alarm systems is therefore important to warn parents or guardians for timely action. A landlord should, therefore, install powered smoke alarms which are less than 10 years old for maximum efficiency. Routine maintenance and testing should be done by the landlord during the on-site inspection. The tenants on their part are required to change batteries regularly. Houses with fireplaces need to have grills installed on each side of the wall to prevent kids from crawling into the fire.
Blinds and curtain cords are must-have accessories for any home. These, however, provide avenues for toddlers to accidentally strangle themselves when left unattended. In fact, two kids are treated in emergency rooms in the US daily because of window blind-related accidents. A landlord should have the blinds and cords well secured and out of children’s reach. Additionally, they can supply cleats to tenants to secure curtains by wrapping long trailing cords.
Childproofing The Exterior
Swimming pools and spas increase a property’s appeal as well as its market value. They, however, pose serious challenges to tenants with babies. Studies show that two inches of water are enough to drown a baby. Having open swimming pools hence exposes a landlord to liabilities. Barriers or gates should be fitted at the entrance of the swimming pool site according to local government regulations. For tenants who want to erect portable swimming pools, a landlord should guide them on the required regulation to ensure maximum safety with fencing being the most important one.
The garage is another safety hazard for babies and toddlers. While trying to follow their parents as they head off to work, kids run a risk of being pressed by a garage door which may be bad news to a landlord. To avoid this, a landlord needs to have the garages of their property fitted with smart sensors. The sensors detect motion and obstructions. Should they detect any obstruction, they immediately stop closing and reopen automatically thus helping to avoid accidents.
Although it is impossible for landlords to guarantee 100% safety to their tenants, it is important for them to be at the forefront of ensuring the safety of toddlers and babies in their property. Apart from the above-mentioned ways, landlords can further baby proof their properties covering electrical sockets, adding door holders to prevent slamming and ensuring heavy items such as shelves are attached to walls thus preventing them from falling on babies. A childproofed home keeps babies safe while allowing them to do all that being a kid entails and helps you as the landlord to avoid suits in case of any accidents.