Are you all bored with this yet? That is not my intent…I had no idea what we were getting in to (really) when we started this process — wonder how many parents say that over 18 years? 🙂 — so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with all of you. And really, I’ll take this over more drugs, egg harvesting, and petri dishes!
Anyway, for those of you with kids, enjoy this summary of the environmental health checklist:
- Home and grounds are kept clean and free of hazards to children.
- Kitchen and all food preparation, storage, and serving areas are kept clean.
- Perishable food is refrigerated or safely stored in other ways.
- Home has an adequate supply of water that meets the standards for drinking water of the Texas Department of Health.
- Home has an adequate, safe sewage disposal system.
- Plumbing appears to be in good working condition, for both hot and cold water.
- There is at least one toilet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower inside the home.
- Bathrooms are kept clean.
- Soap and toilet paper are available in the bathrooms at all times.
- Each child has a clean towel available in the bathrooms at all times.
- Garbage is removed at least once a week.
- Garbage is kept in metal or plastic containers with tight fitting lids in an area away from the children.
- The home is kept free of insects, mice, and rats.
- The yard is well drained, with no standing water.
- The yard is kept free of garbage and trash.
- The house is adequately ventilated and free from bad odors.
- Windows and outside doors kept open for ventilation are screened.
- Cleaning supplies, insect sprays, medicines and other materials that can harm young children are kept where children under age 8 or children for whom these items might present an unusual danger cannot reach them, or have cabinets with latches.
- Accessible electric outlets in rooms used by children under age 8 or children for whom these outlets might present an unusual danger are safety outlets or have childproof covers.
- Electric fans are securely mounted where children under age 8 or children for whom these items might present an unusual danger cannot reach them or have guards which keep children from touching the fan blades.
- Outdoor steps, porches, sidewalks are not slippery. Porches, railings, playhouses and other wooden structures do not have splinters.
- Indoor floors and steps are not slippery and kept dry when children are using them. Wood surfaces and objects do not have splinters.
- Glass doors are marked at a child’s eye level to prevent accidents.
- Firearms are not loaded and are locked away from a child’s reach.
- Ammunition is stored separately away from firearms.
- There are two barriers between home and swimming pool.
- Pet safety care adequate.
- Pets are current on vaccinations.
Most of this stuff makes total sense…and I guess that is, in part, why I find it [pick one: shocking?, amusing?, sad?] that it requires articulation and inspection. But then, this whole process reinforces so much of what we have taken for granted in life. (And thanks for bearing that out in your comments over the past few days!)
Thankfully we had a base level of preparation done when the nephews came to visit a year ago – plug covers, door knob covers, and at least temporary locks for cabinets (but we’ll need more permanent ones – I don’t have the patience to do and redo the tie thingies). And thanks to George and Gracie we have a small fortune in baby gates.
But there are also some changes I find cumbersome. If you re-read #18, there is a LOT not said. What it doesn’t spell out is that:
- medicine, ALL medicine (even Tylenol) must be under lock and key (no medicine cabinets here). So we have purchased the bright orange “HomerBox” tool box from Lowes and put everything from peroxide and Neosporin to prescriptions in the box – in the hall closet (cause it can’t be in the bathroom, either). Oh, and the meds in the fridge are in a separate lock box (I used a metal cash box for that).
- the butcher block of knives in the kitchen can no longer be out on the counter, either
- and the bathrooms need to be closed off because the toilet is a drowning hazard (so where does the litter box go? This may also need to be restricted access – we need to figure that out!)
But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. These inconveniences seem like a typical first step in parenthood. On the plus side, my house has never been so consistently clean and organized. (There is, of course, still plenty to do!)
Oh, we mostly passed. Just a few things (like the bathroom access for all creatures) need to be addressed.