Easy ways to make sure house is safe for little ones

October 11, 2008|By McClatchy-Tribune

Common items found around the house can help you evaluate whether your home is safe for children. Consumer Reports' publication ShopSmart recommends gathering these things for a do-it-yourself home-safety tool kit:

* Ruler: Use it to make sure steps are the same height and to check spaces between crib slats and deck rails so a child's head can't get stuck. Crib slats should be no more than 2 1/2 inches apart; deck rails should be no more than 4 inches apart.

* Digital thermometer: Put it under running hot water to test your tub and tap water. If the temperature is higher than 120 degrees, turn down the thermostat on the water heater.

* Toilet-paper tube: If an item can fit through the tube, it's a choking hazard for a child younger than 3. Test toys and small items that are accessible to small children who live in or frequently visit your home.

* Block of wood: Place a scrap of 2-by-4 lumber under your garage door to make sure the electric opener will reverse itself in case a child is in harm's way.

* Lead test kit: It's a quick way to check toys or paint that you suspect might be tainted.

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