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NAN: In the Home

Since nannies work in private homes, hazards exist that aren’t present in other childcare settings. To ensure the children’s safety, nannies must ensure that home hazards are identified and the risks associated with them are minimized.

Furniture should be moved away from windows and window guards should be used to prevent windows from being opened more than 3 inches. While most windows will have screens, it is important to remember that screens do not prevent accidental falls and cannot support the weight of a child.

To prevent accidental strangulation, looped cords to blinds or shades should be cut. Cleats should be used to tie up loose cords.

Doors should either be fastened with a lock at adult eye level or should have doorknob guards that cannot be turned by children. If the family has a home alarm, ask if the system has a feature that chirps when a door is open. Utilizing this feature can alert parents and nannies if a child opens a door.  

Safety latches should be installed on cabinets so that they do not open at all. Children’s fingers can be pinched in doors that open slightly.

Since stairwells can pose a significant safety risk to young children, safety gates with straight top edges should be screwed into the wall at the top and bottom of stairs. If stairs have widely spaced banisters, they should be covered with netting, plastic, or acrylic that is specifically designed to protect children from falling through these openings.

When considering childproofing their home, nannies can refer parents to the International Association for Child Safety to find a childproofing expert in their area. A professional childproofer can identify home specific safety hazards and make appropriate safety recommendations.

Michelle LaRoweNAN: In the Home