House Hunting: Child-friendly features to look for when shopping for a new home

Shopping for a new home and moving can be a stressful time for most; making a move to a new home with a young family certainly isn’t any easier!  Undoubtedly you will have your own list of child-proofing needs, but if you start your search by looking for a house that is already somewhat child-friendly you can ease some of the frustration after you’ve moved in.  Here are some factors that you should put on your list to consider when shopping for that new family home.


  • Plumbing, wiring and heating systems should be inspected for any potential safety problems.
  • If you are thinking about buying an older home have it inspected for asbestos and lead paint.
  • Mold is a an issue in many homes, check to see if there is any (again a professional should be hired) and understand what steps and costs would be involved to get rid of it.
  • If you are purchasing a home that has a well have the water checked for pesticides, contaminants and lead.
  • All homes, new or old, should be checked for radon.
  • Find out if the appliances are in safe working condition.


  • Accessibility of schools that your child/children will attend is an important factor.  If the school is located close by, take a walk from your potential new home to make sure the path is safe.  If the school isn’t close enough to walk to look into transportation (public or otherwise).
  • Proximity to parks and outdoor play areas.  This should not be overlooked if you are buying a condo or other property that doesn’t have a back yard.
  • The layout of the yard should not be overlooked.  Ensure that the driveway isn’t to steep, find out how you access the play area of the yard, and make sure it is safe to play in.
  • If there is a fence already installed make sure it is suitable and in good shape.
  • A home on a busy main street is not ideal for a child.

Inside the property:

  • Will it be easy to restrict a child’s entrance into less safe areas of the home (such as; the garage, basement or laundry rooms) with doors or gates?
  • Make sure that all the windows are in working order and that they can easily be locked to make sure your child can’t fall out of them or get hurt when trying to operate them.
  • If your child is not old enough to conquer the stairs alone you need to make sure that you can install baby gates on them.
  • Make sure you will have enough storage room to put away all those toys!
  • A property with an extra room to use a play space will make your life easier.  It doesn’t need to be too large, just enough to keep some of those extra toys and give your child enough space to play when the weather isn’t great outside.
  • Is the kitchen big enough for you (and perhaps a child or two!) to cook in?  A small kitchen can be tricky for a family with kids, look for a space where you can fit a table (even a small one) and at least one more person at the same time.
  • Can you safely secure cupboards doors with child-proof locks?  If you can’t, are there high cabinets where you can safely store dangerous products away from your child.

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