We all use chemical-based cleaners to keep the home clean and germ-free. However, these chemicals can be dangerous to children if they get their hands on them. Brooms, mops and brushes can also cause damage in the wrong hands! We’ve collected a list of handy tips and hacks for storing home cleaning equipment in a way that minimizes risk to children.
Keep Brooms, Mops and Brushes Out of Reach of Little Hands
Use wall space in your kitchen to ensure mops, brooms and brushes are out of reach of small children, but readily available for cleaning when you need. You can pick up cheap wall mountings or hooks in most hardware stores and install them yourself. Place them at a level that is out of reach of kids, but easily accessible to you. We recommend keeping mops and brooms near to a window or door so they can get some fresh air. This allows any moisture to dry off, and prevents bacteria from accumulating.
Organize your bathroom cupboards
Keep the bathroom cabinet neat and tidy by installing a cross-beam. You can easily make one at home using a broomstick handle or something similar. Hang bathroom and toilet cleaners from the beam to give yourself more space below for storing other products. If you have particularly harsh or abrasive cleaners in the bathroom, consider locking this cupboard, and keeping the safer bathroom items, like toothpaste and shower gel, in a bathroom storage trolley.
Maximize Kitchen Cabinet Space
As most regular kitchen cabinets usually consist of fixed shelves, cleaning products can easily get pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten about. One solution is to install a detachable basket on sliding rails. The basket should be big enough for your kitchen cleaning products and equipment and easy enough to remove so you can rearrange them when needed. This system makes it much simpler to keep track of what products you have, and to spot if anything has gone missing.
Make Areas of the Home Off-limits
You can make certain areas of the home where there is hazardous products or equipment ‘out of bounds’ to the kids, for example the laundry room. It probably isn’t practical to lock every single cupboard that contains cleaning products. However keeping one room locked and off-limits, then storing the most hazardous products here, is a good way to give yourself peace of mind.
Take Precautions When Ironing
A high quality iron and ironing board are worthwhile investments for safety reasons alone. Cheap models are often more unstable, making them easier to topple, and may have less secure storage points for the iron. Store your ironing board with a secure rack, rather than just leaning against the wall, so there is less chance of it falling.
Dispose of Used Containers Safely
Even after you’ve thrown away cleaning product containers, they can still pose a threat. Children can route through the trash and find the colorful containers, which may contain potentially dangerous chemicals. Rinse out the empty container before throwing them out, and for harsher chemicals, place them in a bag to add another layer of protection.
Child safety is a priority for any parent, and keeping a tidy, germ-free home is an important part of minimizing the risk of accidents or infections. We hope you find our tips for child-proofing your cleaning products storage useful!
These tips were provided by Helpling Cleaning Services, an online marketplace for finding local cleaners.
When it comes to gas, safety is a top priority. Keeping up on gas safety checks and knowing what to look out for are crucial for ensuring that your home is safe from unwanted gas leaks. From hiring a professional to checking in regularly yourself, here is everything you need to know about gas safety checks.
What is a gas safety check and who is authorised to do one?
A gas check is a safety procedure in which a Gas Safe certified heating engineer assesses your home’s gas system and appliances to make sure that everything is working properly. A Gas Safe heating engineer will have been through an apprenticeship program and received a Gas Safe ID to prove that they are qualified to perform gas safety checks.
During the check, the Gas Safe engineer will make sure that ventilation passages are functioning correctly and are not blocked, that the safety devices in your gas system are working efficiently, that the system’s pressure is accurate, that all of the fittings are secured and without leaks, and that the gas leaving the home is clean and not harmful.
How often do you need to get a gas safety check?
Gas safety checks should be performed annually by a certified professional. If you’re renting your home, be sure to understand the agreement of your lease with respect to who is responsible for carrying out these annual checks.
According to the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations of 1998, landlords are required to obtain a gas safety certificate (CP12) every twelve months to ensure that their properties are gas safe. Some commercial properties, however, hold the tenant responsible for arranging annual gas safety checks after the first certificate expires.
If you’re a tenant, understand the responsibilities of your landlord and the details of your lease. If you bring any appliances into your home, for example, your landlord is legally responsible for checking the gas pipes leading into those appliances, but not the appliances themselves. Try to be present when a Gas Safe heating engineer does a safety check in your home so you can ask questions and know if anything doesn’t get looked at during the safety check.
Why is it so important to perform gas safety checks every year?
Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas that can be fatal. It is produced when gas or Liquid Petroleum Gas are not completely burned off, like in the case of a gas leak. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage or even death, so being cautious about gas leaks is one way to avoid these potential dangers.
Other dangers include explosions and harmful emissions into the air, all of which can be avoided by ensuring that gas appliances are functioning properly and are correctly fitted.
What else can you do to be extra cautious about gas in your home or commercial space?
Throughout the year, you can protect your home from gas leaks by knowing what to look for. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. If you suspect there is carbon monoxide in your home, get fresh air immediately by opening doors and windows, turn off your gas appliances and leave the home. See a doctor right away, and call a professional Gas Safe heating engineer to inspect your home before returning.
Your home can also show signs of a carbon monoxide leak, including lazy yellow or orange flames on your cooker (rather than crisp and blue ones), dark staining on appliances, frequently blown out pilot lights, and increased condensation inside windows. The best detection method you can invest in – in conjunction with annual gas safety checks – is a carbon monoxide detector. This inexpensive device will alarm you if there is carbon monoxide in your home. Make sure it’s marked EN 50291 and is marked by a European approval standard.
By staying up-to-date on gas safety checks, repairing broken appliances and regularly servicing boilers, you can feel more confident that your home is safe from harmful gas leaks. Pay attention to warning signs and symptoms of dangerous leaks, and be sure that you are working with a Gas Safe engineer and asking him or her the questions you have about your home and appliances.
About the author: Dave Holliday is the owner of Watertite Plumbing in Bristol. Dave has helped many homeowners and landlords with their plumbing, boiler and gas safety checks. You can connect with Dave on Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn or call Watertite Plumbing and Heating on 01179 093 967.
Ah, summer! Vacation time! Sounds wonderful, right? But add a baby or toddler to the equation, and you’ll find yourself needing a vacation from your vacation! How can you minimize the vacation stress? Is it even possible to navigate a family vacation minus meltdowns? Try these tested strategies for keeping the fun in your vacation while keeping the drama out.
- Plan Extra Time. Remember it’s not a race to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Make the car trip as enjoyable as possible by planning extra stops and lots of buffer room into your schedule. Stop and let baby stretch when he’s getting cranky. Make sure she has her blankie Being strapped in a car seat for hours on end isn’t fun for anyone!
- Pack Snacks and Surprises. When my daughter was younger, I made a special trip to the dollar store just to purchase surprise toys for the trip. Magnet dolls, army men, new coloring books, and new games can go a long way to keeping the element of fun in your trip! For babies and toddlers, extra snacks and drinks help them stay occupied and keep away the crankiness, too.
- Focus on Family. Don’t try to fit in adult activities and entertainment with a baby or young children in tow. You’ll be frustrated and so will baby. Find zoos, waterparks, kiddie rides or beaches that allow you to hang out or move at your own pace. Bring along extra baby supplies you will need, like burp cloths, bibs and security blankets. Long lines and rushing from one show to the next will only create frazzled kids and parents all around. Save those for an outing without baby or for when the kids are older.
- Create Adult Time. When we went on vacation with my family recently, we made sure that each parent got a night out by rotating who would stay at the beach house with the kids. This way we adults got time to ourselves and time together without the kids, too. And the kids were not kept out late or made to sit at restaurants beyond their capacity to be still. Everyone wins!
- Stick to Schedules. Everyone knows that vacations are the time to go with the flow and throw out bedtimes and naptimes, right? Wrong! While flexibility is great, kids who stay up late every night after being on the go and in the water all day turn into meltdown monsters! Young children and babies especially need a certain amount of sleep to maintain emotional equilibrium and to stay healthy. Have you ever wondered why we all tend to get sick on or right after vacation? Lack of sleep may be a big factor! So plan fun-filled activities during the day and come back early enough at night to allow the kids to wind down, cuddle with you and their baby blanket and get to bed at a decent time each night. If you have a sitter or are vacationing with another family, you can always rotate nights out as adults (see #4). Also, plan a down-time in the afternoon for at least one nap for the littlest ones. Snuggling with their favorite blanket will also give them a sense of security in a strange place. Everybody will benefit from the opportunity to recharge before going out to play again.
Vacations can be fun, not frenzied. They can bring pleasant memories, not meltdowns. All it takes is a little planning and preparation. Remember that these years with babies and young children will soon be past. We adults will have time to ourselves once again. Until then, let’s maximize the fun for our kids and minimize the frustration on vacations!
There has been plenty of research that shows that when we eat and drink, the prolonged exposure to the acids in the things that we consume softens the enamel of our teeth. Without the proper care and attention, over time, your teeth will start to deteriorate and rot away. But, by taking care of your teeth properly, you can keep them looking pearly white and in excellent condition for many years to come. It is very easy to do, and will only take a few minutes each day. Not much of a price for a great smile!
Visit your Dentist
The first step in taking excellent care of your teeth is to visit a dentist, at least, every six months. If you suffer from any condition, you may need to see your dentist more regularly, but regular check-ups as well as a visit to the hygienist will help to keep your smile beaming. Visiting a dentist in Brisbane, if you happen to live near the area, for a regular check-up is a lot cheaper than not going and having to get expensive work done later down the line.
Watch what you Eat
As we are assaulting our teeth every time we eat, you will want to limit the number of times that you eat meals or snacks each day. Stay away from sugary foods and drinks, and when you have finished, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Doing this will help to prevent tooth decay as well as softening of the enamel. Try and eat healthy snacks and always make sure your mouth is clean after eating. You will also want to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee and red wine.
Brush your Teeth Properly
It is recommended that you brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes each time, and as often as every meal, or at least twice a day. The more that you brush your teeth, the cleaner and whiter they will be. Many adults probably spend half that amount of time brushing their teeth, as well as not using the correct technique to clean.
First, you will want to start by brushing the outer surface of your upper teeth; and when finished, move to the outer surface of your lower teeth. The next step is to brush the inner surface of the upper teeth, followed by the inner surface of the lower teeth. Next, you will want to brush the chewing surface of your teeth, starting at the top and then moving to the bottom. For fresh breath, you will also want to brush your cheeks and your tongue. Brushing your gums lightly is also a good way to help prevent Gingivitis.
Floss your Teeth Daily
As well as brushing your teeth often, it is also recommended that you floss your teeth at least once a day. The best time of day to floss would be just before you go to bed, as it will prevent the food particles being in your mouth overnight. That way, when you brush your teeth in the morning, your mouth will be fresh and clean for the rest of the day.
With a little under 10 minutes a day, you can make sure that you have a fantastic smile for the rest of your life. Do you have other tips? Share it in the comments.
If you’re thinking about getting a second or even a third pet soon, you may already be weighing up the pros and cons. Having more than one child is a perfectly normal thing to consider. So is having more than one pet any different? There are lots of reasons for and against growing your family this way. Here are some of my thoughts:
Having a second pet means your first pet has a playmate and companion. Let’s face it, we can’t be at home to keep them company all day every day. It could also take the pressure off you having to keep your pet entertained! They will find games to play with each other, and will often enjoy sleeping together all cuddled up. How cute!
Flickr provided the pic
Another pet in the house can also offer you a little more security. There’s another pair of ears ready to listen out for potential intruders or dangers in the home. Two pets together can also keep each other a little more active so they may be less likely to become overweight. Install a pet cam and you may be able to enjoy hours of footage to entertain you as they play together too.
If you have a dog that is prone to bark when you are out, a second dog may help keep them calmer in your absence. And two cats together can offer each other the affection and grooming they so desperately need. If you have two kids, each of them can take care of one of the pets, offering greater opportunities for learning and responsibility.
A second pet doubles the cost of everything. You will need extra food, extra toys, and a second veterinary plan. You’ll need additional flea treatment for cats and dogs. There will be double the vaccinations and twice the treats needed. While you may only be walking them as often as you did before, you will need twice as much attention to where they’re running off to!
There is a chance they just won’t get on with each other. After all, we don’t like everybody we have to spend time with! If they’re not good friends, your home life can become quite unpleasant. You may find they have spats or fights with each other. This could result in breakages of your home items, or even injuries between the pets.
Flickr provided the pic
When you take on another pet, you’ll need to buy new collars, leads, food bowls and beds. Children, of course, can have the hand-me-downs from their older sibling! It’s easy to misjudge how much space you’ll need in the home for another pet too. You may need to make your home bigger as it grows! Perhaps the biggest problem you’ll face at first is getting to know your new pet. Everyone needs time to get used to each other, so it may be a difficult transition.
We all love our pets, and who doesn’t love a cuddle with someone furry? But getting a second pet shouldn’t be a decision you make on a whim. There is a lot to consider. Enjoy your new pet!
We read a lot about preparing for your first child. What equipment will be needed, how to baby-proof the home, how to plan etc. In some respects you might be feeling like a bit of a pro by the time your second child is due. However, there is much less written about preparing for a second child, though this also requires a lot of thinking and planning. Many mums worry about how to prepare their toddler for a new sibling. How will he or she cope with a younger brother or sister? How will you manage to get them both up and dressed each morning? What about meal times?
A Change in Focus
The last time around you were starting from scratch. You didn’t know what baby products to buy, how to prepare your home, how to decorate the nursery or what to expect. This time will be different. You have the knowledge and experience from the last couple of years. You can now change your focus and work out how to incorporate a new little person into the family unit. And if you need a bit of a refresher of preparing for a newborn this article will jog your memory.
Preparing your Toddler
There is no need to tell your toddler straight away. For a toddler, nine months might as well be nine years. Tell them nearer the time when the event will be more immediate. Involve them as much as possible. Ask for their help and involve them in sorting out the nursery or toys.
Enjoy this Time Together
Soon your threesome (or twosome) will be coming to an end. You will have a wonderful addition to the family but the dynamic will change. Make the most of this time together. Celebrate the days when it is just the two or three of you. Plan some special activities you can do as a family.
Prepare in Advance as Much as Possible
This is easier said than done. Try and prepare in advance as much as possible. If you have time, cook and freeze some meals to keep you going for the first few weeks. Accept help. This can be difficult for some people but if there are family and friends around you who are willing and able to help, let them. Listen to these mums talk about their feelings when preparing themselves for their second child.
Bringing the Baby Home
Think carefully about the birth itself and how to handle this with your toddler. When they come to visit you in hospital, remember that they will have missed you. It may be a day or more since they saw you. Make a fuss of them and tell them how much you have missed them.
Try to arrange to take the new baby home together so that you all arrive at the same time.
Include them as much as possible. Allow them to sit with you during feeding. Make sure it is clear to your toddler that there are times just for you and him / her. During these times say openly to the baby that you’re helping your toddler right now.
Above all enjoy these times together. They go so quickly. Cherish the time you have with your toddler and then celebrate the new member of the family when he or she arrives. It can be a challenging time and there will be stresses and strains. But it will also be a beautiful and joyous time. Remember to celebrate that.
More people than ever in the UK now work for themselves so the idea of running your own business from home is something anyone can consider as an achievable target. Starting a new business from the ground up does have many different challenges, including of course what kind of work you can earn enough money from in order to succeed.
Types of home businesses
There are now more ways of working from home that at any time in the past, and much of this is down to advances in communications technology. High-speed domestic broadband means anyone can be connected to the world to as big a degree as they want to be. You can run an international business without leaving your front door.
Online trading sites means that many UK entrepreneurs buy and sell goods online, dealing with suppliers and customers on an internationally basis. If you have knowledge of a particular thing that is in demand you can use your skill to ‘buy low, sell high’. Likewise, many people with creative writing or artistic skills can work as freelancers creating content for publishers, while others can use clerical and administrative experience to be a contractor working on out-sourced projects for an extremely wide range of companies.
While running a small home office needn’t impact much on the rest of the family, especially if you have a room set aside as a dedicated office space, any business that means dealing with stock or product deliveries can be tricky.
Obviously most families won’t want the whole house to become a stockroom. A garage can be used for storage, but increasingly many people whose self-employment involves buying and selling use secure rental storage facilities, as they are flexible in terms of how much space you need and are competitive cost-wise too.
Obviously, anyone making the move to starting their own business needs to take a long hard look at the financial implications. Funding might be needed in the early stages, invoicing, waiting for payments might cause cash flow problems, and dealing with the bookkeeping and HMRC requirements can take up valuable time.
Fortunately, there are some great accountants for contractors that do all the heavy lifting for you and can look after all the financial aspects of running a business from home that might seem too daunting for some who want to take the plunge.
Of course, once you have everything in place the hard work really begins. Running you own business isn’t something that suits everyone, but if you have self-motivation and the ability to deal with the inevitable setbacks, you’ll be sure to be able to make a good go of things.
Knowing that there are plenty of ways you can share the burdens and use outside companies to help you navigate tricky areas such as finances that you might not have had to deal with before can be a very positive thing to bear in mind.
It’s really important, when designing any room to be child friendly, that you ensure that the room is both practical and safe. Here are a few ideas that will help you with creating the perfect family space.
Ensuring your little ones can confidently reach the toilet, sink or even bath unaided is important, especially when they have the tendency to want to do things alone and will do whatever it takes to do so no matter how unsafe or risky. There’s a simple solution, invest in a step stool, there are many on the market that serve different functional purposes, from fold away ones to ones that slide neatly under a ledge or onto a shelf. Just make sure that it’s accessible for your child at all times, so there’s never any risk of them not being able to reach it.
The key for a functional child-friendly bathroom is accessibility. You need to have confidence that your child can use the bathroom, with guidance, at ease. Sliding doors are the perfect item to have installed in the bathroom, they don’t only take up less space in both the bathroom and hall, but by using sliding doors, there is less chance of trapped fingers as you can install self-closing hinges that enable the door to close slowly and not slam shut when pushed. Another thing to consider is how accessible the cabinets are, it’s okay to have things in the shaving cabinet, but why not provide a smaller cabinet dedicated to the child’s own items such as toothbrush, bath toys, towels and so on. This way they can have more responsibility and sense of independence by getting themselves ready using their own things without having to climb up to your cupboards to reach what they need. You can also install self-closing hinges on your cabinet doors too, again this will just erase the risk or trapping fingers in the door.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to heat in the bathroom. The main risk is the hot water, many boilers these days can reach up to boiling, or at least very hot, in a matter of seconds. The solution to this problem is simply installing a temperature controller. These devices can be installed either on the tap itself or on the boiler, and as the name explains, the device controls how hot the water temperature can go. The towel rail can also be an issue, as children are great when it comes to swinging and climbing, when they see a long towel dangling from the wall you can imagine the first thing on their mind. If you are thinking of installing a heated towel rail, position it out of the child’s reach, this way the towel can dangle down for them to reach, yet they can’t quite get their hands on the rail itself, so there’s no risk of it coming away from the wall.
Make sure that it’s easy for your little one to copy your daily routine, when it comes to being in the bathroom you’ll notice they just want to do what you’re doing. Whether your brushing your hair, cleaning your teeth, washing your face or even applying moisturiser you’ll notice that if your little one has the option to join in, they’ll love it. Plus, this is a great way to encourage independence and get them used to day to day routines. Add a mirror above the sink that your little one will be able to use when they stand on their stepping stool, they’ll be able to use the mirror to brush their teeth and so on and it will also help boost confidence skills as they’re able to do little things on their own, making them feel grown up. Place a small (ish) basket in the corner of the room for laundry, don’t purchase one that is too tall as if your child can’t reach they will probably attempt to climb in and that would probably end in tears. Having a smaller basket will allow your little one to put their clothing in the wash bin and learn to be organized and tidy from a younger age.
Every home should be equipped with a radiator if you and your family wish to keep warm during the harsh winter months. Even if you live in a cold area, a fireplace might not suffice in keeping your home warm. This is the very reason why heating radiators were invented in the first place! If you live in a relatively small house, consider yourself lucky as most radiators work best in smaller spaces. The bigger the house, the more challenging it is to create a centralised heating system.
There are various factors that contribute to an effective heating system such as an energy efficient boiler and a range of control valves such as thermostatic radiator valves, but at its core, a radiator is one of the most important components in a heating system. With proper placement, even the simplest radiator is capable of producing heat evenly. You just have to know the ideal locations in your house for its installation which comes back to logical reasoning.
Vertical radiators are not new in the market as they have been around for quite some time. These types of radiators come in various sizes and output capacities. Modernised ones also come with fancy designs but is not that necessary if you’re on a budget. Depending on how cold your area is, you might need more than one small radiator fitted but this is not always necessary. Don’t forget to visit stores such as the Radiator Factory to find out more about different radiators which come in a range of artistically beautiful or conventional designs.
Proper placement is essential here as for the best result, you should always install the radiator in the coldest room of your home. Try to avoid installing the radiator where sources of cold air might interfere with the heat output. For example, always avoid installing a radiator opposite a window, especially if cold air is coming in directly towards the radiator. Try to place the radiator away from the window such as below the window. This way, as cold air comes in, it is quickly eliminated from the hot air generated below the window. The Radiator Factory supplies a range of vertical radiators and even cast iron radiators to fit any home.
Advantage in small spaces
One of the greatest advantage of vertical radiators is its versatility in small spaces. As we mentioned earlier, you would be lucky if your housing is relatively small as you can save a lot of expenses with only a few radiators. Even if you were to rely on a single radiator, this should not be a problem. Small spaces have a tendency to confine heat effectively as opposed to larger spaces. If you don’t have any windows in any small room of your house, then a small BTU radiator is all you really need which saves you quite a hefty expense. Even if you did have a window, there should not be a problem as vertical radiators come in different sizes. Even some small vertical radiators come with a higher BTU output but that really depends on what you need.
Let’s say that you wanted to install a small radiator in a small room. You shouldn’t just buy any radiator, but you should purchase the ideal one. How to find an ideal one is relatively easy. First, you will need to calculate the space of the room by multiplying the width, length, height (in feet) of the room. When you have done this, multiply the number by four. That number is quantitates to the amount of BTU output your radiator needs. In this case, the smaller the figure, the more affordable it is (and especially if you stick to traditional designed radiators).
Vertical radiators are an excellent choice for any small family household. They can practically be installed in any location and most of them are budget friendly. There are various materials and styles available, but for small spaces we recommend that you keep the design simple and aim for efficiency. Don’t forget to calculate the BTU requirements of your room to prevent you from purchasing a radiator which lacks heating power or one that provides you with more thermal capacity than you really need.
Online estate agents are becoming increasingly popular nowadays, with many people choosing them over traditional estate agents. There are several reasons why this is so, and it is mostly down to the fact that you will get a much better deal, and a much quicker sale, if you opt for an online agent. We’re here to tell you why ditching the traditional route could very well be the right move for you.
The main reason why more and more people are flocking to online agents is because it allows them to save money. Selling with a traditional agent comes with numerous fees which many people simply don’t want to put up with. They would rather know straight off how much everything is going to cost. With traditional agents adding an average 1.6% of the total value of your property to their fee just for signing the deal, selling online is clearly the better option in this regard.
Opting for an online agent also allows you to take vantage of the fact that more and more people now search for a property to buy online, rather than going down in person to a local estate agent. The majority of these traditional agents are tied to a particular property website, meaning that they can’t get word of your property out to the majority of people. On the other hand, online agents are free to post information about your property on all the most popular sites, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, so you have a much better chance of a fast sale.
The property market is also changing in the way that people want to actually look at a property in person. Gone are the days when people’s preference was for an estate agent to show them around. Nowadays, research has show they would much prefer the owner to show them the property, so that they can get a quick and honest answer to any questions they might have. Any of these questions could easily be the thing that sways a buyer into choosing your property, so maximizing on your own local knowledge is another way in which selling with an online agent is the way to go.
Finally, the way that people want to buy is changing in the same way that the way their viewing habits have changed. Rather than engage in an old fashioned bidding war, buyers now want to get an honest answer to the question of how much they will have to spend. Online agents understand that honesty is the best policy, and therefore open your property up to the maximum number of buyers, without pricing anyone out. Selling online makes you an average of 99% of your asking price, whereas the traditional estate agent would only be able to get you an average of 3% less than that. When all the facts are taken into consideration, it’s clear that choosing an online agent really is the way to go.