are curious. They like to explore. They like to put things
in their mouth and stick their fingers in unusual places,
play with hanging cords, and push or pull over furniture.
No wonder even the most harmless room can be a minefield
of dangers for them!
There are many measures you must take to protect your
child from injury or accident in the house. Here, we
give you some safety tips that will help keep your
child out of harm's way. Please remember that this
is a very basic list. We can give you a comprehensive
list of safety measures that you should implement in
your home only after a detailed home safety evaluation.
Master and Other Bedrooms
Stairways and Banisters
Laundry Room and Garage
- Install quality safety latches on drawers and cabinets
that are within a child's reach.
- Keep all sharp utensils, wastebaskets, and household
cleaning products in a latched drawer or cabinet.
- Appliance cords should not dangle from the counter-top.
A curious child could pull on that cord and bring
a heavy appliance onto his head or body.
- Cook using the back burners of your stove and
turn pot handles toward the rear of the stove so
your child can't pull hot food on himself. Remove
stove knobs to prevent curious little fingers from
turning on the knobs. If you remove the knobs, keep
one handy to use while cooking, and store in a drawer
when not in use.
- Dishwashing detergent should only be poured immediately
before you wash dishes. A swallow full of detergent
is a hazardous and deadly snack.
- If your kitchen has a trash compactor, keep it
latched. If it is key operated, keep the key out
of reach from your child.
- Keep a fire extinguisher readily accessible in
the kitchen and know how to use it.
- Post emergency phone numbers by the phone or on
your refrigerator. Include police, fire, poison control,
hospital, family doctor, and ambulance service. When
in doubt, call 911.
- Don't use tablecloths or placemats - your baby
will pull them and what's on them down.
- Prevent access to pet bowls of food and water.
A child could drown in the water or choke on the
- Never leave standing water in the tub or sink.
It takes very little water to create a drowning hazard.
- NEVER leave your child unattended in the bath.
A good rule of thumb is to keep one hand on your
child at all times while bathing. If you must leave
the room, wrap your child in a towel and take her
- Reduce your hot water heater temperature to 120
degrees. A baby's skin is more sensitive than an
adult's. What is warm to us can scald a small infant.
- Install a spout cover to protect from falls.
- Use a non-slip mat or use non-slip stickers in
the tub to prevent falls.
- Remove items from around the tub ring (shampoo,
conditioner, razors). When bar soap becomes small
enough to fit into a toddler's mouth, it becomes
a choking hazard.
- Install a lid lock on all toilets. Toddlers can
drown in just a few inches of water. In addition,
lid locks will prevent children from flushing valuables
down the toilet.
- Install safety latches on bathroom cabinets and
- Put wastebaskets under the sink and latch the cabinet
- Ensure that the bathroom door doesn't lock. If
privacy is required, install a flip lock at eye level
to prevent people from entering.
- While using your bathtub, keep all electrical appliances
such as electrical razors, toothbrushes, hair blowers,
curling irons, radios and especially electrical heaters
unplugged and locked in a cabinet, away from the
reach of children. Water and electricity are a fatal
- When selecting a crib:
- Don't buy an older, used crib. It could be
- Corner posts should not extend more than
1/16th of an inch above the end panel.
- Posts should not be more than 2 & 3/8ths
inches apart to prevent the child from getting
- All hardware should be tight fitting and
- The mattress should fit snugly in the crib
frame to prevent the child from getting stuck
- Avoid placing a crib near windows. If a crib is
near a window, make sure that drapery and mini-blind
cords are OUT OF REACH to prevent strangulation.
- Keep the crib away from lamps or other electrical
appliances. Lamp cords should be wrapped so as not
to leave excess length available for a baby to chew
or pose a strangulation hazard.
- Drapery and mini-blind cords present a hazard
in every home. Unfortunately, cords left in their
reach have strangled many young children. Blind and
shade cords should be wrapped around wall cleats,
out of reach of toddlers.
- Do not place furniture under windows. Children
love to climb and furniture can serve as a ladder.
When a window is open, a screen is not enough to
prevent a child from falling out and sustaining a
- Install window locks. These allow you to open
the window to a safe distance (4 inches), but prevent
children from opening the windows any further. Install
window guards if you plan to open the window any
- Keep mobiles out of the reach of the baby. Babies
love to watch them, but when your baby is old enough
to reach the mobile and pull it down, it could become
a strangulation hazard.
- A changing table should have guardrails and a
protective strap that should be used each time a
baby's diaper is changed.
- Never leave a baby unattended on a changing table.
Children learn quickly how to roll over and can fall
off the moment you turn away looking for a diaper.
- Electrical outlets should be covered. Baby
Home Safety provides self-closing
electrical outlet covers. These spring-loaded
devices close automatically when the appliance
plug is removed, alleviating the need to reinstall
plastic safety plugs after each use.
- A child's closet should be free of wire hangers,
mothballs, dry cleaning bags, and any object with
small parts that could pose a choking hazard.
- Don't leave toys in the crib, or anything else
that would help child climb out. Remove bumper pads
when your child begins pulling up to stand.
- Secure furniture that can topple, such as bookcases
and dressers, to the walls with brackets.
- Do not hang mirrors or picture frames above the
crib; a child may reach them and knock them off.
Master and Other
- The master bedroom and all siblings' bedrooms should
have the same safety features as the rest of the
- Check the floor for dangerous items.
- Empty nightstands of medication, sewing materials,
cosmetics, jewelry, buttons, manicure tools, and
other typically dangerous items.
- NEVER KEEP FIREARMS IN A HOME WITH SMALL CHILDREN.
IF YOU MUST, KEEP THE FIREARM EITHER DISMANTLED,
ALWAYS UNLOADED, SECURED WITH A TRIGGER LOCK, OR
KEEP IT LOCKED IN A GUN SAFE.
- If any piece of furniture seems unstable, it should
be anchored to the wall. Not only can a toddler climb
on large pieces, but an earthquake can send unstable
furniture crashing down.
- Coffee tables should have rounded corners to avoid
split temples and lips. If glass tabletops are used,
the glass should be 3/4" thick and should be
made of tempered glass or replace the glass with
Plexiglass. Never use pedestal type tables. A child
who climbs on the edge of an unsecured table could
suffer a serious injury.
- Install padded toddler shields on your tables
to protect your children when they fall.
- Use a VCR lock to prevent children from placing
little fingers or unwanted items in the VCR.
- If you have a bar in the family room, lock away
- Remove small objects from lower shelves. These
may pose a choking hazard.
- Fireplace Hearths should be padded or completely
blocked off with a gate to protect your child from
the hazards of falling, as well as the danger of
the fire itself. Remove gas fireplace keys and put
them out of reach of toddlers.
- Stow logs, matches, and fireplace tools out of
- Staircases have provided both adults and children
with bumps, bruises, broken bones and other injuries.
Keep stairs clear of clutter that may pose a tripping
hazard while carrying your baby.
- Safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs
should be securely mounted to the wall and have a
locking handle that can be operated with one hand.
Never use a pressure gate on stairs.
- Banister posts should be no more than four inches
apart. Larger openings permit children to slip through
or become lodged. Baby
Home Safety recommends and installs Plexiglass
panels on stair balconies, both interior and exterior.
- Do not place furniture near a balcony. A child
could climb on the furniture and fall over the balcony.
room and garage
- Keep all cleaning products and hazardous materials
up high or securely latched in a cabinet.
- The garage should be off limits, at all times,
- Water heaters should be anchored to the wall to
avoid a burn hazard. Never store flammable liquids
or materials near the water heater since the pilot
light could accidentally ignite the fumes.
- Use only garage door openers with automatic stopping
devices. These doors will automatically reopen if
they sense an obstruction.
- Drowning has become the # 1 cause of death among
children under the age of 14, and near drowning can
result in brain damage to a child.
- Install a fence around the pool. The fence should
completely surround the pool, be at least four feet
tall, and have self-latching, self-closing gates.
- Never leave a child unobserved in a pool. Adult
supervision is essential and a caregiver's eyes must
be on the child at all times.
- If a child is missing, always look in the pool
or hot tub first. Seconds count in preventing death
- If you choose to enroll a child under age 4 in
a water safety course or learn-to-swim program, know
that this is primarily a way for you and your child
to have fun together in the water. The American Academy
of Pediatrics does NOT recommend swimming lessons
for kids under age 4 because they are developmentally
not ready yet. It will not make your child "drown-proof",
but will teach important behaviors about water safety
such as not pushing, running, diving in shallow water,
or swimming alone.
- If you're using a chain link fence, ensure the
openings are 1 x 1-inch so children cannot use the
openings to climb up and get access to the pool.
- Consider using a gated alarm and/or closed circuit
camera to monitor entry into the pool area.
- Child Safety Seats:
- Choose the correct child safety seat for your
child's age and weight.
- Register your child safety seat by filling out
the manufacturer's registration card and mailing
it in. This is the only way to be notified if there
is a recall or problem.
- Install your child safety seat correctly. Follow
the manufacturer's instructions EXACTLY or better
yet, have your child safety seat installed by a
National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration
(NHTSA) certified installer. A seat that is not
installed correctly will not offer your child the
best protection in the event of a crash.
- Always buckle your child into a child safety
seat EVERYTIME your child rides in the car-no exceptions.
The harness should be snug and the chest clip should
be at the level of the child's armpits.
- Infants should ride in a rear-facing seat until
they are AT LEAST 20 pounds and one year-longer
- If your child safety seat is in use and a crash
occurs, retire it gratefully and purchase a new
one. Damage to the seat may not be visible and
can render the seat unsafe.
- NTSHA estimates that proper use of car seats
could prevent up to 71% of deaths and 67% of injuries
sustained in accidents.
- Everyone who buys toys should remember that
playthings are safe only when they are chosen
according to a child's age, interest and skill
- Discard the plastic wrappings from the toys
immediately before they become deadly playthings.
- Teach older children to keep toys designed
for them away from younger children.
- Keep toys and play equipment in good repair.
Discard toys that can't be made safe.
- Teach children to put toys away. Leaving
playthings on sidewalks and stairs can cause
- Decorating With Plants:
- Plants can be toxic. Know the names, both
common and scientific, of all plants in your
home and garden. In some cases, ingestion of
poisonous plants may include symptoms such
as nausea, burns in the mouth and on the hands,
a burning throat, convulsions, gastric upset,
dizziness, unconsciousness, cold, clammy sweats,
difficulty in breathing and other symptoms.
- Fire Safety:
- Install smoke/fire detectors in each room,
at a minimum, on each floor. These detectors
should be tested on a monthly basis. Batteries
should be changed twice per year with new batteries.
- Have a fire extinguisher on each floor of
your home, and know how to use it.
- Devise at least two fire escape plans and
- Place all lighters and matches in a locked
drawer or metal box. Don't play games with
fire. Teach your children the dangers of lighters
and matches and to notify you anytime they
find a lighter or matches.