Conduct a child safety audit before taking your custody case to court.
Devin, Hunter and Emilio were three boys living in Michigan who caught the attention of public authorities because of their unsafe living conditions. Back in 2007, when authorities investigated the living arrangements, they found that the boys’ mother had been a victim of domestic violence when the children were present. Emilio, an infant, did not have a crib and instead slept on a child’s play couch that was turned into a mattress. Investigators founds that the cushions around the couch were unsafe because the “child could roll into the crack” between the cushions and suffocate. Eventually, in the case of In re Schaeffer, the Court of Appeals of Michigan took the children away from their mother.
The case of Devin, Hunter and Emilio is not unique. In fact, there are many cases in which child custody and parental rights revolve around the safety of the environment in which the kids are living, sleeping, eating and playing. Is your home safe? Is the other parent’s home safe? To avoid any adverse consequences based on a safety issue, you should conduct a safety audit of your household. Perform your own investigation of the kids’ bedrooms, playrooms, toys and blankets, car seats, and other areas. Make sure there are no dangerous or recalled children’s toys in the house. Make sure furniture, doors, electrical outlets and other common problem areas are safe for children. Ask yourself whether there are any social circumstances in the house (for example, a teenager with a drug problem) that might pose a safety threat to younger children.
Performing a safety audit is a good idea, regardless of whether a child custody dispute is pending. But it is even more important if you’re likely to be cross-examined on the issues of health, safety and welfare of the child. In fact, by safeguarding your home against potential risks, you can testify confidently that you can provide the best environment for the child.