To protect you and your family, do a thorough safety check of every room in your home on a regular basis. You can prevent unintentional accidents, injuries, and nontraumatic emergencies. Your family will be healthier and safer when you practice a little prevention.
Print this checklist so it can be used when you inspect your home. Make extra copies for later use.
___ Don't leave medicines, toiletries, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, matches, lighters, or other household products in drawers or on nightstands. Store opioids and sedatives in locked containers.
___ To prevent accidental injuries or choking, keep penknives, nail files, scissors, batteries, and pocket change out of reach.
___ Install a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in the hallway outside of the bedrooms on all levels of your home. Test them monthly, and change batteries based on the maker's instructions. Replace detectors every 10 years.
___ Use cordless window coverings. Cords on drapes and blinds can cause strangulation.
___ Make certain the crib mattress fits snugly.
___ Ensure crib slats are placed no wider than 2 3/8 inches apart.
___ Be sure the crib has been put together correctly. Make sure there are no missing screws or bolts to prevent it from collapsing.
___ Make certain there is a carpet or rug beneath the crib or changing table. This will soften the impact if a baby falls.
___ Don't use cribs that have one or both sides drop down.
___ Make certain that children's toys and furniture have not been recalled. You can check at www.cpsc.gov.
___ Make sure that furniture is attached to the walls or floors. Then if a child pulls or climbs on it, it shouldn't fall on them.
___ Use cordless window coverings.
___ Remove all crib gyms, hanging toys, and decorations from a crib by the time a baby can raise up on hands and knees.
___ Make sure there is a safety belt on the infant changing table. Use it consistently and correctly.
___ Make sure baby supplies such as lotion are out of a baby or child's reach. But keep them within your reach. Then you don't have to leave the baby to get these things.
___ If your child can climb out of the crib, think about getting a youth bed with guard rails. Or put the crib mattress on the floor.
___ Never leave small parts or pieces of a toy in a child's room.
___ Be sure a night light is not near or touching drapes or bed linens.
___ Never place a crib, playpen, or bed near a window.
___ Install specially designed window guards or safety screens to prevent a child from falling from a window. Standard window screens are not designed to prevent children from falling.
___ Make certain there are outlet covers, outlet plates, and plug protectors in the unused electrical outlets.
___ If a toy box has a lid, it shouldn't be heavy, hinged, or lockable. Children may crawl inside and become trapped.
___ Put a nonskid bathmat on the floor and a nonskid mat or decals in the bathtub.
___ Protect all electrical outlets with ground fault circuit interrupters.
___ Store medicines, makeup, toiletries, and cleansers well out of the reach of children.
___ When children are present, put child-resistant safety latches on all cabinets storing potentially harmful substances.
___ Store electrical appliances, such as hair dryers and curling irons, out of reach.
___ Always unplug such an appliance before leaving it unattended, no matter how briefly.
___ To prevent accidental scalding, set the water heater no higher than 120°F (49°C).
___ Never leave a child or person with a disability alone in a bathtub, or in a bathroom where there is a tub, sink, or bucket containing water, not even for "just a minute."
___ Always keep toilet lids closed.
___ Don't store vitamins (or medicines) on the kitchen table, counter, or windowsill.
___ Keep knives, scissors, and other sharp utensils out of reach of children
___ Store dishwasher detergent and other cleaning supplies in their original containers and out of reach of children.
___ Install safety latches on cabinets and drawers within a child's reach.
___ Keep chairs and step stools away from counters and stoves.
___ Always turn pot handles inward when cooking on the stove. Use back burners whenever possible.
___ Keep the toaster unplugged when not in use. Keep it out of the reach of children.
___ Make sure appliance cords aren't dangling. Then they can't be pulled from a counter.
___ Unplug appliance extension cords when not in use.
___ When children are present, use outlet protectors, outlet plates or plug protectors for all unused wall outlets.
___ If a child is in a highchair, make sure it is sturdy, is on a level surface and has a seat belt with a strap between the legs.
___ Keep a working fire extinguisher readily available in your kitchen.
___ Keep houseplants out of reach of children and pets. Many plants are poisonous.
___ Make certain TV sets and other heavy items are secure so they can't be tipped over.
___ Remove unneeded extension cords.
___ Put outlet protectors, outlet plates or plug protectors in any unused electrical outlets, especially when children are present.
___ Move tables and other objects with sharp edges away from the center of a room, especially if there are toddlers or someone with a disability in the home.
___ Place protective material on sharp furniture edges.
___ Secure area rugs to prevent falls and slips. Remove throw rugs.
___ Keep stairs and walkways clear of snow, ice, wet leaves, or other debris.
___ Fix cracks or chips in cement sidewalks and stairs.
___ Make sure railings, gates, and fences are secure and in good repair.
___ Keep garbage cans covered.
___ Make sure there is a fence with a locked gate and a self-locking latch between the house and a backyard swimming pool. The latch must be out of the reach of children.
___ Securely store garden tools and lawn equipment.
___ Be sure play equipment, such as swing sets and garden furniture, is correctly anchored and assembled. Check regularly for rust, splintered wood, or cracks.
___ If you have a fireplace, wood-burning stove, or other heat source, place barriers around it to prevent accidental burns.
___ Inspect and clean chimneys and stovepipes regularly.
___ Keep hazardous items secured and stored in their original containers in the garage, utility room, or basement. This includes bug sprays, cleaners, laundry detergent packets, e-cigarettes, auto care products, and weed killers.
___ If a person has ingested a toxic substance, first call the local poison control center at the universal telephone number in the U.S.: 800-222-1222.
___ Store these out of reach of children: plastic bags, broken pieces of toys, buttons, screws, and other choking or suffocation hazards.
___ Post emergency phone numbers in an easy-to-see place, such as on your fridge. Also enter these numbers into your cellphone. Make sure your children know where the numbers are, and when to call them.
___ When children are around, use safety device at all stairways and exits in your home. This includes gates, locks, and doorknob covers.
___ Make sure all indoor and outdoor stairways and entries are well-lit and clear. Staircases are safer with handrails on both sides of the stairs.
___ Be sure bathrooms and bedrooms can be unlocked from the outside.
___ Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and people with disabilities.
___ Check that the home has 2 unblocked exits, in case of fire or other emergency.
___ Check all electrical cords to make sure they aren't cracked or frayed.
___ Be sure outlets or extension cords aren't overloaded.
___ Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn. Make sure the heater is on a flat, firm surface. Turn off and unplug the heater when leaving the room.
___ Ensure that paint or wallpaper is not chipping or peeling. Be sure the paint doesn't contain lead.
___ Keep purses, backpacks, and other portable storage bags out of a child's reach. They may contain medicines, penknives, hard candies, and other items that may harm children.