A Mom’s Family Safety Checklist – The Big Picture
Sponsored by Gerber Life Insurance,Â Home Office: White Plains, NY 10605
Everyone knows itâ€™s important to wear sunscreen and have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but thereâ€™s a lot more to keeping your family safe than you might realize. And with everything busy moms have to think about, itâ€™s easy to let something essential about family safety slip through the cracks.
Hereâ€™s a checklist to help ensure youâ€™re checking all the boxes when it comes to your familyâ€™s safety.
Before you know it, your little one will be speed-crawling into everything, so get as much babyproofing done as early as possible. Load up on outlet covers, drawer latches, and foam edge guards before your baby is born and take the time to address any hazards early. Because as tired as you are when youâ€™re pregnant, itâ€™s even harder to babyproof while wrangling a crawler on five hours of sleep.
As soon as your child starts pulling up, just about every piece of furniture in your home will suddenly morph into a horrifying potentialÂ tip-over accident. Make sure your TV is strapped or mounted to the wall and all bookshelves, dressers, consoles, and kitchen appliances are secured with anti-tip devices. Keep all toxic household cleaners, dietary supplements, and medications out of reach in a locked cabinet. Again, these are measures worth taking before your baby is born so that you can focus on the fun of chasing after a toddler.
3. Monitor Product Recalls
The easiest way to know if a baby product you own has been recalled is to register every item you purchase or receive as a gift. Since thatâ€™s not always possible, itâ€™s a good idea to keep abreast of recalls by periodically checking theÂ Consumer Product Safety Commissionâ€™s list of recent recalls. Anything from food items to bicycles will show up on this list if itâ€™s recalled for any reason.
4. Get Health Insurance
Having health insurance coverage for your family is so important, even if you never get sick. Babies have six well visits in their first year, and thatâ€™s not counting all the sick visits youâ€™re likely to go to when, for example, your little one pulls on her ear for the tenth time in a row and you canâ€™t discern whether she has an ear infection or has just discovered another body part. Itâ€™s also critical to keep yourself covered and receive regular preventive healthcare so that you can continue to take great care of your family.
Stay up to date on your premiums to keep your coverage current. Medical bills can be difficult to keep up with even with insurance, so just imagine the financial strain of paying those bills entirely out-of-pocket.
5. Buy Family Life Insurance
Itâ€™s difficult to think about the unthinkable, but donâ€™t let that stop you from being prepared. Take the time to have a serious conversation with your partner about what type of life insurance each of you should get to safeguard the otherâ€™s future and the future of your children. This is particularly important if you provide most or all of your familyâ€™s income.
Talk to an insurance agent and consult with your family attorney if you have questions about what type of policy you should buy. In most cases, medical exams arenâ€™t necessary for people under 50, and the process is relatively simple.
6. Set Up a Will and/or Living Trust
Making plans for what will happen when youâ€™re gone is not how most people want to spend a Saturday, but itâ€™s important to be pragmatic and make these critical decisions sooner rather than later. Although they share many similarities, living trusts and wills do have some important differences. For instance, although living trusts and wills both allow you to name beneficiaries for your property, you canâ€™t use a living trust to name an executor or guardians for your children. Carefully discuss your options with your family attorney and have her draw up whatever document suits your familyâ€™s needs and circumstances best, be it just a will or both a will and a family trust.
7. Invest in Your Childrenâ€™s College Fund
Tuition at American colleges and universities continues to rise at a rate thatâ€™s significantly outpacing inflation. The best thing to do is try to keep up by saving as much as you can as early as possible. Do your research and find the savings plan thatâ€™s best-suited for your familyâ€™s needs and childâ€™s anticipated college expenses.
8. Invest in Your Retirement
Many people make the mistake of investing in their childrenâ€™s college fund at the expense of their retirement. Having had parents who fell into this trap, I can tell you firsthand that not planning for your retirement will eventually become a burden to your childrenâ€”both financially and emotionallyâ€”and can be much more devastating than student loan debt. Take control of your retirement and save your adult children the stress of having to make difficult choices for you, should you develop dementia or other debilitating, age-related ailments.
Discuss your retirement investments with a trustworthy accountant or retirement specialist and carefully manage your retirement investments, be they 401(k), Roth and/or traditional IRAs, real estate, or some combination of all of these. Eventually, you will also want to invest in a long-term care policy because assisted living and memory care are not covered by health insurance. Saving for your retirement will also afford you the freedom to travel, enjoy your hobbies, and spend time with your children and grandchildren during your golden years instead of wasting time worrying about money.
If you havenâ€™t gotten to all the items on this checklist, donâ€™t stress. Take a breath and start tackling tasks bit by bit so as not to get overwhelmed. Remember, itâ€™s never too late to consult with a financial advisor or estate lawyer to start preparing for whatever life might throw your way.
Brought to you by Gerber Life Insurance â€“ providing ways to prepare for your babyâ€™s financial future.