San Antonio, Texas June 29, 2006 Summer time means it the peak of remodeling season, bringing workers into homes filled with curious and energetic young ones. As the season gets into full-swing, there is growing excitement over fresh ideas and new experiences. Now is the time for homeowners with children to plan for necessary precautions that should be undertaken during a home remodel. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) offers the following tips to keep children out of harm's way during a remodel. Communication is Key Everett Collier, CR, President of NARI says to communicate with your remodeling contractor openly and let him or her know what to expect while working in your household. Thus, inform them about your children, their ages, their behavior patterns and how mischief-prone they may be so the contractor's crew can be safety-aware at all times. Dr. Frederic Medway, a professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina, recommends you find out what is going to happen during the remodeling project and you sit down as a family to plan ahead. You should have a way to communicate these choices to the rest of the family and come to a relatively speedy conclusion. Communicate with your children as well, and be sure both they and you can anticipate the number of workers likely to be in the house at a given time, and the general work hours. Consider the proximity of the work area to your child's room or play area, and if necessary, designate a new, safe area for play and toy storage. It's also important to set safety rules that they will need to follow while the work crews are present. If possible, designate an entrance for workers' use only, and advise your children never to use that entrance. This will help keep children out of the contractor's way, and vice versa. Environmental Hazards Lead is always an important consideration while remodeling, but it is especially significant in its harmful effects on children. Lead-based paint from the demolition portion of a project can send paint dust airborne. Lead paint is often found in homes built before 1978 and can be especially detrimental to young children. Review the risks with your remodeling contractor or check with your local Environmental Protection Agency office for guidelines to follow. Be cognizant of when your remodeling contractor will be using hazardous chemicals and work with them to devise a proper ventilation plan. Planning a short get-away is sometimes advised after the use of strong chemical agents to allow the home to properly air out. Windows and Ladders Another safety area to consider is an open window. Try to keep ladders and tempting easy-to-climb structures away from open windows. Remember that insect screens are meant for keeping out insects, and won't suffice in protecting your child from a fall. Adding a Pool? The child with the pool is the most popular kid on the block, which makes you the most responsible parent. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 350 children under the age of 5 drown each year in residential pools, and thousands more are treated each year for near-drowning accidents. Preventative safety measures can be taken in the pool-building process. During the design process, consider the proximity of the pool to the house. If it is very close to a second-story deck, or even overhanging tree branches, children might be tempted to jump from the structure into the pool.
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