A recent article in the Homes & Gardens section of The Oregonian noted something that many readers might not know: home inspectors can and do offer advice that goes far beyond highlighting things that need fixing in a house that is about to be sold.
The paper quotes Nick Gromicko, author of The Safe Home and a certified Home Inspector, saying “I wrote the book after realizing consumers mistakenly believe they are hiring a home inspector only to find defects in systems and components… more often than not, the home inspector alerts the consumer to safety concerns.” The article goes on to offer important tips on crib safety, preventing furniture hazards that might crush a child (such as an entertainment center or bookcase tipping over), preventing window falls, safety gates and the child-proofing of stairs and railings. All tips, in other words, designed to reduce or eliminate injuries to children.
Some of these are essential tips I have written about before, such as installing window stops to prevent children from squeezing through an open window, or a reminder that safety gates are of little use if they do not meet recognized national standards. Other advice, however, falls into the category of ‘things that ought to be obvious but sometimes aren’t.’ For example Gromicko’s reminder that parents should “ensure that… any furniture a child could potentially climb on should be moved away from windows.”
Other safety standards are less well-known but equally important. “Dressers, chests of drawers, and armoires should be able to remain upright when any doors or all drawers are open two-thirds of the way, or when one drawer or door is opened and 50 pounds of weight are applied to the front, simulating the weight of a climbing child,” the newspaper notes, citing standards developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
As an Oregon and Washington lawyer whose cases often involve injuries to children I urge every parent and grandparent to click on the link below and compare your own home to the standards it lays out.
The Oregonian: Baby Safety: Check the crib, windows, furniture, railings