All parents want to find safe housing for their children. What things do they need to look for? At HomeTownRent.com, we think that these categories are the most important:
- Parks and play areas
- Schools and day care services
- Environment and pollution
First and foremost is the location of the apartment or rental home. Before selecting an apartment or house to rent, it is helpful to find a lot of information on the neighborhood and the area. You can look at websites such as www.city-data.com where you can find information on industries, environmental facilities, the average age of the residents, registered sex offenders, list of schools and hospitals and other useful city data. After you gather data you can search for nearby parks and play areas. You can also search for schools and day care services in surrounding areas. Check with local police about the crime rate as well as talk to potential neighbors if possible.
When selecting an apartment complex, there are several important things to consider such as the presence of a safety gate, well-lit indoor and outdoor areas, security cameras, open designs (no hidden areas), speed bumps in the parking lot, and pool safety (i.e. proper fencing and availability of lifeguards). It is helpful to pay attention to surrounding businesses and development areas, which can cause a lot of noise and traffic. Look for nearby construction sites, a music venue or club, or anything else that could affect the noise level of the neighborhood.
Another thing to consider is the environment and pollution. Is there any exposure to a large number of pollutants or are there any risk factors? Check the building materials of the house or apartment complex. Are there any toxic substances in the building?
There are several environmental hazards to look for including outdoor and indoor environmental factors. Outdoor environmental factors include nearby factories. Smoke and dust from factories affect health and can cause asthma. Heavy traffic areas have bad effects on health and cause a lot of noise. This article from EPA official blog’s page provides some great healthy tips on preventing and reducing air pollution explosion for children. There is a very interesting booklet for helping keep the house safe and healthy. (http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/library/hhi/HYHH_Booklet.pdf)
Indoor environmental factors include chemicals leaching from carpets, poor ventilation, and chemically treated furniture. Consider requesting that the property manager re-paint the walls with no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint, which is free from toxic substances that evaporate over time.
Transportation and accessibility are also key factors in selecting a rental home or apartment. Check the proximity to schools and public transportation to schools, and mark the location of bus stops for the schools.
When you select an apartment or other housing, you can get tips on improving safety in rooms. You can use laminate on the floor which is easier to clean, washable materials for upholstery and carpets, and childproof the bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, and outlets with approved child-safety devices.
Safety is every parent’s first priority, and we hope that these tips might help you select the best housing for you and your child.