The first thing you should do to keep your children safe is to know the hazards present within their environment. As parents or guardians, you have to be proactive when it comes to the safety of your children because prevention is still way better than any cure invented.
Of course, child proofing your house always depend on the age and size of your kids. And parents often know to childproof the normal things like cabinets and electrical sockets but some of them might not think to childproof their home’s HVAC system.
Your HVAC has actually plenty of ways to hurt your toddlers so you should always be vigilant.
So here are some ways to childproof your HVAC System:
Secure your vents. Children can easily lift up the vents if the covers are not secured properly. To keep your children from harm’s way, you should screw or nail the covers into the floor. Additionally, you should put a screen on it to add extra protection. If you feel that nails can also be dangerous to the kids, you can use Velcro instead to secure the covers. This will keep your kids from opening up the vents and throwing their toys inside it.
If your concern is the sharp edges of metal vents that can cut your children, there are available plastic vents out there at most of the home improvements shops near you. This can be used for both floor and wall registers.
Place Thermostats and Units High Up. If the temperature will be set too high or too low, it can damage your HVAC and can be dangerous to the health of your child. If the temperature is left unattended at extremes, it can cause respiratory problems or hypothermia. Additionally, your bills can get very high if your children are often playing with the thermostat. Make sure to put the thermostat where your children won’t be able to reach it.
Protect outdoor unit. The outdoor unit is one of the most dangerous parts of your HVAC system. There are lots of sharp edges that can cut your children and they can also get burned or electrified if there are loose cables out there. To make sure your kids will not go near the outdoor unit, you should secure it with fences or shrubs to block off your unit. But don’t get too excited blocking off your unit. Just remember that if you decide to cover the outdoor unit, give a space for it to breathe. You can ask an HVAC contractor what’s the standard allowance for your HVAC.
Keep remotes out of reach. If you put the thermostat out of reach and leave your unit’s remote control somewhere reachable by your kids, it will not make any sense since they can always play with the temperature using the remote. Additionally, your kids may accidentally break your remote and they might swallow the small pieces from it. Be sure to put your remote control in drawers or on shelves beyond their reach or where they will not ponder the idea of playing with it.
Block off radiators. Radiators and/or radiator fans pose a serious threat to your kids. Although it is not hot enough to burn the skin, it has a lot of sharp edges that can cause different injuries. To childproof your radiator, you should provide a radiator cover by buying one or make one by yourself using a plywood and paint, the top can even be serviceable for decorations. Alternatively, you can just put a baby gate or other obstruction to make sure that your children will not be able to go close to your radiators.
Replace old, dysfunctional units with new units. An HVAC unit can wear out over time. The ideal life expectancy rate of an HVAC unit lasts around 10-15 years. If you’ve been using the unit consistently throughout the years, you should consider changing your unit by then. Worn out units are the primary cause of what causes refrigerant leaks in air conditioner. If you continue to use a weakened and worn out unit over time, you are prone to refrigerant poisoning. While it is not harmful in small amounts, long term exposure can affect you and exposure to high amounts of “Freon” can be detrimental to you and your children’s health.
As stated above, there is no exact formula for each household on how to childproof their HVAC system because it ultimately depends on the size and age of your children. After considering the options above, you can give your HVAC professional a call to consult for additional tips on how to prevent accidents involving your little ones from happening.