Home Inspections and Child Safety

Many things in our homes are totally legal and conform to building codes, but are still unsafe for small children.  Little Mack seemed to find one of these “in-home hazards.” He bumped his head on the stone fireplace hearth, like countless children before him, and came away with the black eye to prove it.


When you think of it, the stone fireplace hearth is never kid-friendly. It is usually the only surface in the home that is elevated just enough for children to want to climb on like a wonderful mountain or just high enough to get in the way of a tottering, playful child’s little head.  Maybe this has something to do with strong men building houses and not child care workers. Unfortunately, little Mack is not alone in this discovery.


When doing a home inspection, it is recommended that the client attend. This is an opportune time to point out all of the in-home hazards for the client like these attractive stone fireplace hearths. It is important for the home inspector to know if the home buyer has small children so these hazards can be addressed with safety solutions before the little Macks of the world take matters in their own hands (or worse, discover them with their knee-high noggins).


In the case of stone fireplace hearths, a special rubber bumper is available for the edge of the stone to protect little children until they get used to a rock surface extending out into the room or until they grow up a bit.


There are many things in the home and on the property that should be discussed between the home inspector and client when it comes to child safety. As the home inspector, it is a simple task to point them out to the client. Points to consider could be garages, laundry rooms, and window wells, among many others.  This is a non-required courtesy and won’t show up in writing on the home inspection report, but it only takes a little effort and can save the agony of some painful black eyes, not only for the kids, but for your clients as well.