Healthy Kids    

25 Ways to make you home safe

These changes just may save your child's life

25 ways to make your home safe

These changes just may save your child’s life


With children out of school, they will be spending a lot more time at home and/or visiting relatives that may not have the needed safety precautions in place to prevent home injuries. The Home Safety Council (HSC) is urging parents to take action and safe-proof their homes against the leading causes of home injury – falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning.

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-15 in the U.S. and the home is the second most common location for these unintentional injuries. New research by HSC found that the while the vast majority of U.S. adults think they are knowledgeable about home safety (92%), very few have taken action to make their homes safer from the leading causes of home injury (36%).

Other key findings:

  • An average of 2,096 children younger than 15 die each year in the United States as a result of a home injury.
  • An average of 3.4 million home injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments each year among children less than 15 years of age.
  • Fires and burns, choking and suffocation, and drowning and submersions are the leading causes of unintentional home injury death among children younger than 15 in the United States.
  • Children between 1 and 4 have the highest rates of nonfatal, unintentional home injury.
  • Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal home injuries among children younger than 15, accounting for an average of 1.3 million injuries each year.

With these scary statistics in mind, here are some safety tips for your home:

1. Prevent falls

  • Have grab bars in the tub and shower.
  • Have bright lights over stairs and steps and on landings.
  • Have handrails on both sides of the stairs and steps.
  • Use a ladder for climbing instead of a stool or furniture.
  • Use baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs if babies or toddlers live in or visit your home.

2. Prevent poisoning

  • Lock poisons, cleaners, medications and all dangerous items in a place where children can’t reach them.
  • Keep all cleaners in their original containers. Do not mix them together.
  • Use medications carefully. Follow the directions. Use child resistant lids.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas.
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 if someone takes poison. This number will connect you to emergency help in your area.

3. Prevent fires and burns

  • Have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills. If you build a new home, install fire sprinklers.
  • Stay by the stove when cooking, especially when you are frying food.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside. Use deep ashtrays and put water in them before you empty them. Lock matches and lighters in a place where children can’t reach them.
  • Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Blow the candle out if you leave the room or go to sleep.

4. Prevent choking and suffocation

  • Things that can fit through a toilet paper tube can cause a young child to choke. Keep coins, latex balloons and hard round foods, such as peanuts and hard candy, out of children’s reach.
  • Place children to bed on their backs. Don’t put pillows, comforters or toys in cribs.
  • Clip the loops in window cords and place them up high where children can’t get them.
  • Read the labels on toys, especially if they have small parts. Be sure your child is old enough to play with them.
  • Tell children to sit down while they eat and to take small bites.

5. Be smart around water

  • Stay within an arm’s length of children in and around water. This includes bathtubs, toilets, pools and spas – even buckets of water.
  • Put a fence all the way around your pool or spa. Always keep the gate closed and locked.
  • Empty large buckets and wading pools after using them. Keep them upside down when not in use.
  • Make sure your children always swim with a grownup. No child or adult should swim alone.
  • Keep your hot water at or below 120° F degrees to prevent burns.