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How to Protect Children During a Home Renovation
Home renovations can be messy, cumbersome, and often dangerous. If you have children living in your home during a remodel, you face the added challenge of keeping naturally inquisitive kids safe. Without taking the proper precautions, children can be injured by sharp tools, heavy furnishings, potentially toxic products like varnish and paint, and dust and debris. Learning how to protect children during a home renovation will give you the peace of mind that your children will be safe and the construction will proceed smoothly.
Hire a kid-friendly contractor.The first step in keeping your children safe during a home renovation is hiring the right contractor. A contractor's style of work can make a big difference in the child safety of a project. For example, make sure your contractor understands that any barriers should be left up during construction, tools should never be left in reach of children, and live electrical work should never be left unattended. Ask your contractor if they have experience working around children, and gauge their comfort level in maintaining a kid-friendly work area.
Erect barriers around the work area if possible.An important aspect of protecting children during a home remodel is keeping them out of the work area. Depending on your home's layout, this will be possible to varying degrees. Plastic drop cloths can be hung across openings to keep dust and debris from spreading and to discourage children from entering the work area. If possible, erect child safety gates across doorways and ask that your contractor step over them.
Make alternative areas available.If the area being renovated is a room that your kids frequently use, like a kitchen or bathroom, make sure an alternative arrangement is in place. For example, you might set up a compact refrigerator in another room to hold juice and other beverages for your children. If your kids will need to use a guest bathroom while their usual bathroom is being renovated, make sure all of their hygiene products are moved to the new bathroom.
Explain to your children the importance of staying away from the work area.Older children should be told explicitly to avoid the area being renovated. If you have made alternative arrangements (like setting up a second fridge), make sure you tell the children that you expect them to utilize those arrangements.
Schedule the work while the children will be out of the home.If your children are in school or have other commitments, try to schedule the contractor to perform most of the work during this time. You will still need to keep the kids out of the unfinished area when they are home, but you will not have to worry about your children getting underfoot when your contractor's team is coming and going.
- Make sure to open windows and run a fan to improve ventilation during the construction. Children are generally more sensitive to respiratory problems from dust inhalation than adults.
- Be especially careful if the home renovation will involve disturbing any lead paint. Young children are especially sensitive to serious harm from lead dust, and so extra precautions should be taken to get them out of the house or to control the dust.
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