Safety & Design Tips: Children's RoomsParents and parents-to-be have a million things on their minds when it comes to raising their children. But every parent needs to be aware of child safety, and this begins in the home.
Children's rooms are the best place to start. According to child-safety experts, the typical focal points for decorating a child's room -- windows, cribs and bedding -- also hold the greatest potential danger to a child's safety.
To make sure your child's room is a safe one, consider the following tips:
Window Areas: Never place a crib, playpen, bed or any type of low-standing furniture near a window. In exploring their surroundings, young children can accidentally fall through an open window or window screen, or become tragically entangled in a nearby window cord. Whenever possible, place cribs and furniture on a non-windowed wall.
Corded window treatments purchased before 2001 should be replaced or retrofitted with cord-retrofit devices to reduce potential strangulation risks.
Because today's window blinds, shades and drapes have improved cord-safety features, consider purchasing new window coverings for your home. Cordless products are especially recommended for children's bedrooms and play areas.
However, if you wish to keep your older window coverings (i.e., purchased before 2001), visit our How To Retrofit section for instructions on how to retrofit these products.
Cribs: Make sure the crib you are using is sturdy, properly installed and in compliance with the latest safety standards. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cautions that crib mattresses should fit snugly, headboards and footboards should be without decorative cutouts, and corner-post extensions should be eliminated.
In addition, safety guidelines now require that all cribs have slats that are spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Heirloom cribs and hand-me-downs may not meet these safety guidelines, or may have lead-based paint, dangerously loose parts or missing pieces. If in doubt, consider purchasing a new crib. Remember to place the crib on a non-windowed wall.
Once a child is able to push up on his hands or knees, or reaches 5 months of age, the CPSC recommends removing any crib toys strung across the crib or playpen to avoid accidental strangulation.
Bedding: Fashionable crib comforters, bumpers, sheets and other bedding items are commonplace in today's nursery decorating schemes. As adorable as these bedding items may be, safety experts caution parents not to place fluffy soft comforters or pillows in the crib where they might smother a baby. A safe yet colorful alternative is to hang the comforter on the wall as textile art.
Other room features: Be sure to cover all electrical outlets. Consider purchasing a spring-loaded lid-support device for toy chests to prevent the lid from falling on a child's neck or from closing and trapping a child playing inside the chest. Changing tables should have safety straps. Baby powder, diaper ointment, and similar baby-care products should be accessible to the caregiver, but out of the child's reach.
When it comes to choosing window treatments most consumers consider color, style, and even privacy. If young children are around the home, then cord control should be another important factor in selecting your window treatments.
Although today's window fashions come with built-in cord-safety features, the Window Covering Safety Council believes cordless window coverings are the best choice for use in children's bedrooms and any area of the home where children spend time playing.
In fact, cordless designs are rapidly gaining favor with consumers and decorators because of their "clean" look and streamlined design. Most traditionally corded window fashions are available in "cordless" styles through the use of spring-loaded mechanisms, battery- or motor-operated lift controls, or simple wand pulls. When combined with the scores of new fashion looks in today's window coverings, consumers can pick from a wide choice of high-style cordless designs.