The open floor plan and walls of glass in Eichler homes are great for keeping an eye on the kids, whether they are playing indoors or out. Nevertheless, good judgment dictates that if you have small children or grandchildren, you take a few steps to make your home child-friendly; and for Eichler homeowners, the large expanses of glass goes to the top of the child-safety ‘to do’ list.
Building codes were different back in Joseph Eichler’s day and those beautiful walls of glass that are a hallmark of Eichler homes were non-tempered, meaning that they can break into dangerous shards. Today, codes dictate that safety glass must be used for sliding doors and floor-to-ceiling windows. To make your place safer, you could opt to replace your existing mid-century sliders and windows with tempered glass, which can be quite expensive. A less costly solution is to have window safety film installed. In addition to providing a level of protection against breakage, safety film allows sunlight into your home while helping to reduce UV-rays.
Another solution is to install what is sometimes called a Great Eichler Window, which is essentially a Plexiglas storm window sized to fit your existing window. The Great Eichler Window is available through Eichler Solutions. I don’t have any personal experience with this company, so can’t vouch for them – but I think the concept is interesting enough to warrant mention. Check out our service directory for my list of reliable Eichler window vendors.
While making those Eichler windows safer has top priority, let’s not forget some of the basics in making your home child-friendly. You’ll want to include safety latches for cabinets, protectors for electric outlets, child-safety doorknob covers, and cord wraps to secure those pesky (and dangerous) window shade cords. While I have yet to find a doorknob cover that looks sleek and contemporary (if you know of one, I’d love to hear about it!), you can now get outlet covers with sliding panels. They look good – and beat those old fashioned plug-in covers.
And, last – but most definitely not least – if you have a swimming pool or hot tub, it is imperative that you put multiple barriers between it and your young child. Fence it in (not just a perimeter fence around the back yard) and/or install a protective pool cover. Experts recommend both as a fence is always there, but covers are often left opened.
For more tips on creating a safe environment for the kids in your life visit Childproofing Your Home.