Your adult-friendly home has lots of potential hazards for a child. But you can keep your child safe by finding out what the risks are, and then preventing or removing them. Small children sometimes get into places they shouldn’t. This can lead to them breaking things, or worse, hurting themselves. But there are some very simple and inexpensive things you can do to childproof your home and keep your kids safe.
Candles and matches are out of reach. It's possible for a toddler to accidentally light a match and start a fire, no matter how undeveloped her fine motor skills. And if she chews on a candle, she could choke on the wax. Keep candles and matches well out of reach, and try flameless LED candles to mimic the effect of flickering candlelight.
The TV is mounted. If a child tries to climb on a TV stand, the set can fall on her. Mount your television securely on the wall, if possible. TVs on stands need to be anchored to the wall too: Slip industrial-strength Velcro straps through the air-vent holes and connect them to eye hooks that you screw into the wall.
The fireplace is covered. Install heat-resistant gates to use while the flames are burning. Kids could fall and injure themselves against a sharp or stony hearth, so make sure you buy pads for the edges. Artificial fireplaces often contain small rocks that are a choking hazard -- if yours does, remove them. Two risks in our picture: The doors should be locked when not in use, and the fire-stoking tools should be out of reach.
Lower cabinets are protected. Cleaning products like drain openers, automatic dishwasher detergents, and furniture polish are toxic. Either secure the cabinet with a magnetic lock, use a traditional latch along with a childproof locked box, or place chemicals high up, well out of reach.
The dishwasher is locked. The biggest hazard is ingesting the detergent. Store knives with blades down and leave dishes in the machine for as short a time as possible. Many dishwashers have a lock setting, so check yours. The microwave is out of reach. Mounting it up high is best.
Tub faucet is covered. Rubber spout covers can protect your toddler from bangs and bruises. Also, because your child could burn himself if he turns up the hot water, make sure your water heater is set to 120?F.
Providing some outdoor space can really add value to your vacation rental offering. However, they can also add some risk in terms of guests hurting themselves and for which you can be held liable.
Pools and Hot Tubs
Fencing off pools and hot tubs prevents unauthorized use and can increase child safety. Ensure all doorways/gates accessing a pool or hot tub are lockable, preventing unintended access by children. Small children should only use the pool and tub with adult supervision. Ensure all pool components, slides and other accessories are in working order and/or safe to use. Make sure the water is tested regularly and that chemicals are safely stored. Non-slip decking can reduce the risk of injury.
Young children accessing the waterfront should be under adult supervision. Provide guidance and directions for use of waterborne equipment.
Balconies, Decks and Patios
All access to balconies, decks and patios should be lockable. Ensure all balconies, decks and patios are in good order and safe to use. Perimeter alarms can deter unintended guests or indicate when a guest enters the balcony, deck or patio from the residence. Installing a non-slip surface can increase safety during and after wet weather. All outdoor furniture must be in good condition and safe to use.
If your short-term rental caters more to families with children, you should consider these aspects to ensure your guests are safe and you reduce your risk of any liability.