Good property managers prepare for various possibilities, including upcoming maintenance, special requirements or needs of your guests, and potential emergencies or disasters. But what’s the biggest and sometimes most unforeseen disaster that could befall a rental property? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a hurricane, a tornado, or a fire. None of those things are as destructive, as unstoppable, or as demoralizing as the single most devastating force that threatens the property management market: a baby. Babies are the only natural disaster that you willingly invite into your home and, therefore, can sometimes be overlooked. So in order to properly prepare, let’s start by considering the worst possible scenario. Here we’ll examine the most destructive baby that could ever cross the threshold of your property: Jack-Jack.
Let’s be practical. The vast majority of babies will not have superpowers. But, nevertheless, we can still fortify your property by considering the case of our extraordinary little friend. These suggestions will help you tackle the task of baby-proofing your property while also making the baby hosting process more successful.
Potential Hazard: Fire
Thankfully most children cannot turn into a flame baby as Jack-Jack can, but fire still poses a serious threat to the well-being of a child. The possibility of a fire can be terrifying to parents, especially in an unfamiliar place, so providing the proper emergency items is of the utmost importance. Fire extinguishers placed in the correct areas (Jack-Jack has one built into his super suit), fire blankets, smoke detectors, and in some cases sprinklers should all be commonplace on the property in order to ensure safety is upheld in case of an emergency.
Potential Hazard: Temper Tantrums
Those of you that are thinking a temper tantrum is more of an annoyance than a hazard has most likely never dealt with a child in the “terrible-twos”. Once a baby reaches the age in which they have spatial awareness and the ability to move, keeping them safe becomes more of an ever-changing puzzle than an exact science. Throw in anger, lack of understanding, a lot of independence, and a little miscommunication, and there you have it – a recipe for disaster. For a visual representation, picture Jack-Jack. His temper tantrums result in him transforming into a hobgoblin baby with red skin, angry eyes, and destructive, erratic behavior; which doesn’t sound so different from a normal two year-old when you think about it.
In order to protect the small guest from accidentally hurting themselves during such an event, consider sharp objects, breakable items, and pointed corners that may be in your rental. For breakable items that are easily moved, we strongly encourage placing them out of reach or completely out of sight. If removing an item leaves an obvious empty space, replace it with something that isn’t breakable, or better yet, an age appropriate toy for the kid to play with. The parents will appreciate that. For items that are sharp but cannot be easily moved, place soft or rounded edges on them where possible. For instance, you can purchase rubber corner covers for the coffee table, fireplace ledge, or any other corner that could be harmful. Also, be sure that any heavy objects are not precariously placed. Whether they’re breakable or not, they can cause serious injury if they were to fall on the child.
Potential Hazard: Hands
Babies have hands. Nothing shocking about that – but thinking about what they can do with those hands is terrifying. If you’re not watching, they can put things in dangerous places. For Jack-Jack this is a particularly awful issue to deal with because he can move things with his mind. Luckily, the babies you’ll be hosting shouldn’t have this ability, but you still need to be aware of what’s in their reach and consider what could be put where. For instance, having fabric or anything that could catch fire near the stove is not a great idea. And while you’re evaluating the kitchen, go ahead and throw some locks on any drawers or cabinets that may house items that aren’t kid-friendly. Windows and doors should have locking mechanisms that are child-proof as well. Lastly, don’t forget to cover electrical outlets. Plastic plugs are a smart, easy, and cheap way to keep curious kids from poking around in the wrong places.
Potential Hazard: Rapid Movement
Let’s face it, this is one superpower that all kids have in a sense. Jack-Jack can teleport, create intradimensional wormholes, and phase through matter, but doesn’t it feel like all kids can do these things? It seems like babies have the ability to move from one room to another in the blink of an eye, and this can present many safety concerns. But fear not, there are ways to prepare. First, have secure locks and latches on places the child should not enter (i.e. cleaning closets, utility rooms, attic spaces, and garages). Second, consider providing items the parents can use to secure a safe place for small children to play (i.e. a nice pack ‘n play or crib, and baby gates for doorways). Lastly, and probably most importantly, baby monitors are incredibly important. Unfortunately, parents don’t have x-ray vision, supersonic hearing, or the ability to go multiple days without sleep (although most come close!) Baby monitors help give them peace of mind while allowing them to let their kid explore a bit.
Jack-Jack is clearly a special case, but all young children have some attributes that make them particularly difficult to keep safe. We’ve discussed most of them here and, if you take these suggestions into account, your property will be ready to safely accommodate guests of all ages in no time. Though it can feel a bit overwhelming, let’s take a moment to be grateful that you’re not dealing with a superbaby. Just imagine if the little ones visiting your property could clone themselves like Jack-Jack. In that case, you could very well have 10 toddlers on your hands all at once. And to that end, the only thing we here at Rented.com could say would be a resounding “good luck”.