Important Safety Checklist

Home security is important no matter where you live, who you live with, or how old you are. It is critically important when there are small children in the home, who cannot understand how certain things can hurt them. Use this checklist to make sure your home is set up as safely as it can possibly be.

Go through all the rooms in your home, including the hallway, closets, and other storage areas. Once you’ve done a thorough run through of your home, make sure you check the front yard, back yard, basement, etc. Anywhere your child might go needs to be checked and childproofed.

General Safety

  • Check all medications to ensure they’re in original containers with child-proof caps. If you use a non-childproof medicine organizer, make sure it is stored in a place out of your child’s reach.
  • Remove all old prescription drugs from the home.
  • Place household cleaners in a cabinet out of the child’s reach. If you must use a cabinet under the sink, make sure it has a childproof locking device on it to prevent the child from gaining access. Do not store cleaners near food.
  • Check for flammable chemicals in the home. Make sure they are stored in a tightly-capped non-glass container, and stored away from heat sources, where the child cannot access them. Label any chemicals as flammable.
  • Ensure all plants in the home are not poisonous if consumed. If there are poisonous plants in the home, keep them out of reach of children.
  • Check all drawers and cabinets within your child’s reach. Remove any sharp or small objects, as well as toxic or otherwise dangerous objects, such as: lights, razors, medications, scissors, buttons, pins, etc.
  • Keep the phone number for poison control near all phones and phone books in the home.
  • Install smoke detectors throughout the home. Check monthly and replace batteries as needed.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home. Check monthly and replace batteries as needed.
  • Install a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Clean chimney annually.
  • Place outlet covers or safety plugs in all unused outlets. Alternatively, block them with furniture.
  • Keep electrical cords behind furniture, or protect them with a hide-a-cord device.
  • Use blind cord stops and safety tassels to prevent children from accessing the blind cords.
  • Keep all appliances out of reach of children.
  • Use door stops to help keep children’s fingers protected.
  • Avoid using tablecloths and placemats that the child can pull on to allow for other things to fall on them.
  • Secure heavy furniture such as bookcases with latches so the child cannot cause them to fall over.
  • Use appliance latches to keep children from opening and closing the refrigerator.

Keeping the Child’s Room Safe

  • Ensure your child’s crib meets federal safety standards. Do not leave toys, or anything that could help the child climb out of the crib in the crib with your child.
  • Once your child reaches 35 inches tall, upgrade from a crib to a toddler bed with a detachable rail to help prevent falling. If falling is a concern, pad the floor, or put the child’s crib mattress directly on the floor.

Bathing Safety

  • Never leave a bathing child unattended, even if just for a few seconds.
  • Make sure there are non-slip mats in and next to the bath tub.
  • Install soft covers on the knobs and spout of the tub.

Vehicle Safety

  • Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible – and do not switch before the child’s second birthday.
  • Have the car seat installed in the middle of the back seat if possible, and visit a local fire department to ensure it is correctly installed.
  • Check your car seat’s expiration date if you’re using a hand-me-down. If expired, invest in a new seat immediately.
  • Lock all doors and windows while driving. If equipped, use the child safety lock so the door cannot be opened from the inside.

Clothing Safety

  • Do not dress children in clothing with drawstrings.
  • Keep sleepwear snug fitting, and make sure it’s made with flame retardant fabric.

Fall Prevention

  • Do not leave children unattended in a highchair.
  • Use window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows if they try to climb.
  • Use safety netting around windows, decks, and landings.
  • If your fencing has more than 4 inches of space between the railings, block the space with plexiglass or another material.

Burn Prevention

  • Set the water heat at 120 degrees. Check temperature using a candy thermometer, about two hours after you’ve adjusted the temperature. This will help prevent burns and scalds during bath time, and if your child decides to “play” at the sink.
  • Install a stove guard and knob guards to prevent the child from being able to play at the stove.
  • Do not place hot food or drink near the edge of the table.
  • Use an appliance latch to ensure the oven door cannot be opened.
  • Do not carry hot food or drink while holding the child.
  • Do not cook at the stove while holding the child.
  • Make sure all pot handles are turned toward the back of the stove.

To add an extra layer of safety and security, consider taking a CPR and/or general first aid course. Many courses can be taken in your home. Have all family members who will be involved in the child’s care participate with you. Ensure any caregivers outside the home, such as daycare providers, are fully trained and certified in first aid.

Install a home security system to help protect your home when you’re away from home. Home security systems are available in a variety of styles and configurations to monitor for burglary, as well as fire and carbon monoxide. These systems can help you keep older children safe when you’re at work, and offer peace of mind you can’t get from simply baby-proofing your home. With a few extra door sensors, you can protect your medicine cabinet, gun cabinet, and other items – getting an immediate notification if any of these items are opened. Though it isn’t particularly an issue with toddlers, this is a great way to protect older children and avoid issues with snooping guests.

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