Tips on Child-Proofing your Rental Property

A good landlord wants the best for his or her tenants and their loved ones. This article from Jason Van Steenwyk at Buildium has some excellent ideas for making sure everyone is safe and happy in a rental property. 

If you have a family about to move in with a small child, consider child-proofing your rental property to protect your company and ensure the safety of all of your residents—even the littlest ones.

Below, Buildium offers some helpful tips on Child-Proofing Your Rental Property.

  • Contact information: Prepare an emergency information sheet with updated addresses and phone numbers for local emergency rooms, pediatric centers, the poison control hotline, and other relevant phone numbers. Also note contact information for your community’s service staff, if any. Attach this document to the refrigerator, post it just inside the unit’s front door, or include it with your tenant welcome package.
  • Cabinets: Install cabinet locks—especially for ground-level cabinets that commonly contain hazardous household chemicals.
  • Fire safety: Double-check smoke detectors and sprinkler systems. Children have been known to accidentally set fires, and parents need sufficient warning in the event of a fire to rescue their children before leaving the building.
  • Garages: Install garage door sensors that stop doors from closing if they detect an obstruction, such as a small child. Hundreds of kids are injured by garage doors each year, and new garage doors tend to be worthwhile from an ROI perspective.
  • Outlets: Install wall plug covers, or give some to incoming parents.
  • Parking lots: Put up speed limit signs and speed bumps to protect children playing in parking areas.
  • Pools: Check the fencing and gating around pools. Ensure that gates are self-closing and that latches are lockable or out of reach. Child-proofed fencing should be no less than 4 ½ feet high, and rails should be no more than 4 inches apart–with nothing that enables little hands and feet to climb over. Chain link fences should have a mesh size not exceeding 1 ¼ inches—unless you install slatting. If there are slats, they should be not more than 1 ¾ inches apart, based on the average foot width of a small child. There should be no more than 4 inches of clearance between the ground and the bottom rail of the fencing. Also, install non-slip surfacing. You can put up all the ‘no running’ signs around the pool you want, but kids are going to run. Make sure no one slips needlessly—and if they do, show that you took reasonable and prudent precautions.
  • Railings: Double-check banisters and railings of all stairs, balconies, porches, and walkways. Kids can be expected to hang and pull on them, so shake them and make sure that they’re sturdy and well-mounted. Inspect them for gaps in the railings and repair them promptly.
  • Windows: Install cordless blinds to prevent asphyxiation hazards. Also, install window latches and screen locks on windows, particularly those on upper floors.

Child-proofing your rental property: A guide for property managers and landlords

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